Athletics News |
Feb. 2, 2011
By Jeff Gentil
Whether he is anchoring UC's coverage of National Signing Day for GoBEARCATS.com or doing play-by-play for the men's basketball team on Fox Sports Ohio, Tom Gelehrter is a jack of all trades for the Bearcat Athletics Department.
Since Gelehrter came to UC along with Director of Athletics Mike Thomas and (former Senior Associate Director of Athletics) Mike Waddell from the University of Akron in 2006, he has been the man in front of the camera or walking the sidelines for all of the UC sports teams.
As the Director of New Media and Broadcasting for UC (and affectionately known as "Tommy G"), you've probably seen or heard him in one or all capacities. From studio host for the Butch Jones and Mick Cronin Coaches Shows, to sideline reporter for football games, to play-by-play for the men's and women's basketball games, to even volleyball, soccer, and baseball, Gelehrter can do it all. But his responsibilities don't end with games or coaches' shows.
"It all depends on the season and what events are on-tap," he said. "I usually have interviews to schedule with coaches or student-athletes, game prep to put together for football or basketball, video board content to work on, and broadcasts to schedule."
Life has certainly been a whirlwind for Gelehrter over the last eight years. And like most things in life, he got his first break just being lucky.
"Mike Waddell (while at Akron) needed a new voice for their (women's basketball) games and met a good friend of mine in California," he said. "(Mike) happened to mention to my friend that he was looking for someone and my buddy told him he knew of the perfect person. I had just graduated from Syracuse and had no idea where I was going to land. I had no idea when I was hired at Akron in the summer of 2002 that I would spend the next 8 1/2 years of my life working with Mike."
Obviously not all of those 8 1/2 years would be at Akron. When Mike Thomas landed the UC job, Gelehrter figured Waddell would be joining Thomas in Cincinnati, but he was unsure about his own future.
"About a month before Waddell began his job at UC, he called me into his office and asked me if I would be interested in joining him at a BCS-level school," he said. "I think I said yes before confirming that it was UC. Six months later I began my new position at UC."
He hit the ground running and has not stopped since. On the way, he has picked up new responsibilities every year. This year, he is hosting some of the Montgomery Inn coaches' shows with Butch Jones and Mick Cronin. Also, due to conflicts with the football season, he picked up some play-by-play duties with the men's basketball team on television and from Dan Hoard on radio, which Gelehrter was happy to cover.
"Without question, play-by-play is my specialty and is what I am most passionate about," he said. "I have done basketball play-by-play now for the past 11 basketball seasons and called close to 350 games at three different schools and on everything from the internet, to radio, to network television. I am incredibly fortunate for the opportunities I have been afforded this past year. There is no question those games and opportunities are big for my resume and the possibility of future play-by-play gigs."
Like another Syracuse alum (Hoard), Gelehrter has his eyes on a bigger prize ultimately.
"Aside from the great spot I currently have at UC, of course, I would love to be the lead play-by-play voice for a team or even a play-by-play voice for a TV network (on a regular basis)," he said. "I am very passionate about my play-by-play. If I stick with radio, I want to be the #1 voice for a college or pro team. If I end up on TV, I would love to have a regular network deal where I get the opportunity to do three games a week and travel to different cities, see different schools, and meet different coaches."
For now, the native Clevelander is happy in his adopted town and although he won't call himself a "Cincinnatian," he certainly is learning his way around the area.
"It is hard to consider myself a Cincinnatian," he said. "But I certainly consider myself a proud member of the community. I recently bought a house here and have really grown to appreciate the great things the city has to offer. After 4 1/2 years, I can certainly say that I have enjoyed my experience both at the University of Cincinnati and in the city. Everyone at UC has been very easy to work with and I am grateful that I have a great group of coaches and student-athletes to work with who make my job very easy."
One of Gelehrter's most visible jobs is the sideline reporter for UC football games. He is often the first person to interview the head coach following games and, naturally, could be in the line of fire if emotions are heated following a tough loss.
"Obviously, any interview after a loss is going to be more difficult than following a win," he said. "But that is part of the job. My job after a game is to get the coaches' thoughts and ask good questions regardless of what the final score is. My first year on the sideline was Brian Kelly's first year and honestly I didn't know what to expect after a loss. I remember after the loss at Pitt being terrified about my post-game interview with Brian. He came down the tunnel and could not have been more pleasant. I have been very fortunate to work with some very good coaches who have been willing to work with me."
Unfortunately, his schedule does not allow for much of a chance to simply be a fan between August and April (football and basketball season). But, come summer, he and his wife like to spend their time traveling the country in an attempt to see every Major League Baseball ball park. To date, they have made it to 19 of the 30 and Gelehrter makes a point to try and relax for a change.
"I don't get a lot of time to enjoy a game from the stands," he said. "But I certainly try as much as possible. I love going to baseball games as a fan. It definitely gives me a chance to relax and just enjoy the sport. When I go to NFL or NBA games, I find myself looking around and thinking more like a broadcaster."
Obviously, sports are supposed to be fun. No one gets involved to have a bad time or be miserable. But, not everyone can win or experience ultimate highs in their particular game. Gelehrter has been lucky to be involved with some great moments in UC Football history over the past few years.
"Being the sideline reporter for football has been an awesome experience," he said. "To be so close to the action is pretty awesome and has given me an opportunity to learn a lot about the game, about coaches and about players. To be in the locker room after each of the games in which UC clinched a BIG EAST Championship is an experience I will never forget."