Dec. 29, 2009
By Shawn Sell
His voice is familiar; his insights and experiences are vast. He is Chuck Machock, and for the past 18 years he has served as color analyst on University of Cincinnati men's basketball radio broadcasts.
Machock's roots in the UC program go back to 1955 when he arrived on campus as a men's basketball student-athlete. After two seasons of playing, legendary coach George Smith suggested to a young Machock that he would be better off transitioning to a student-coach position with the UC freshmen squad. Even then, Machock knew where he wanted his career to take him.
"He said if you want to coach, you will be better off, and I couldn't have agreed with him more," Machock says. "Coach Smith was responsible for my first job across the river at Erlanger St. Henry High School."
The position with the UC freshmen, and subsequent head coaching posts at St. Henry and his alma mater Elyria High School, helped Machock launch a 29-year coaching career that spanned the Midwest and reached as far south as Florida. He got his first taste of college coaching after six years at Elyria High when the State of Ohio built the first junior college in the state, Lorain County Community College.
"I had a lot of success at the high school level and so I was fortunate to get that job," Marchock says. "It was the first step into what I thought really got me into college coaching. I stayed there two years and we played a lot of college junior varsity teams as well as other community colleges. We did pretty well."
Machock's success at LCCC led him to a one-year stint as the University of Akron's junior varsity coach and then a three-year stop at Steubenville College, one of the nation's premier college division teams at the time. It was while he was at Steubenville that Machock became acquainted with a family named Huggins, as in former UC coaching legend Bob Huggins and his equally famous on the high-school level father, Charlie.
"I had met Bob's father when I was at Steubenville," Machock recounts. "They had to come to our facility to play their high school playoff games. I got to see Bob play as a freshman and I went to down to camps run by his father, Charlie. Charlie and I got to be real good friends and that's ultimately how I met Bob."
After Steubenville, Machock took an assistant coaching position at West Virginia University and ultimately crossed paths with Huggins, who finished his playing career there after starting at Ohio University. Following three years in Morgantown, Machock was on the move again, this time for a two-year stop at Ball State. Finally, Machock was given the chance to return to his home state when Eldon Miller got the head coaching job at Ohio State and invited Machock to join his staff. While at OSU, Machock and Huggins were together again; both served as assistants on Miller's staff for two seasons.
Following eight years in Columbus, Machock was offered and accepted his first major head coaching job at the University of Central Florida. Huggins, then the highly-successful head coach at Walsh College, joined Machock's staff for the 1983-84 season. The Knights captured a conference championship that year, and Huggins and Machock again went their own ways.
"After eight years at Ohio State, I left for Central Florida and Bob came down as one of my two assistant coaches," Machock says. "The very next year, he got the Akron (head coaching) job. He had been successful at Walsh and was told to get some Division I experience. So he came down, we had some fun and built the program really quickly."
With just two seasons of coaching at UCF on his resume, Machock returned to Columbus and took up a career in financial securities, a field he works in today. Three years later, Huggins started his tenure at Cincinnati and turned to an old friend to join his staff in a "volunteer" capacity.
"I got into securities and three years later, Huggs gets the job down here and wants me to coach again," Machock says. "I said, `I don't want to do that; I have my feet on the ground here.' A week later, he comes back and says, `I will make you a deal - your firm has two offices in Cincinnati, go to whichever one you want and help me will you?' We came in here and it was a ton of fun. We had that Final Four team my third year and then the rules changed where you could only have so many coaches so I stepped aside."
It was then that Bearcat fans really got to know Machock as he began his career as the color analyst on UC radio broadcasts, despite having no prior radio experience. That didn't seem to deter Machock or the radio stations holding the rights to UC games and he has since endeared himself to not only Bearcat fans, but his radio partners as well, including current play-by-play man Dan Hoard.
"I love Chuck," Hoard says of his partner. "He is the most unintentionally funny person I have met in my life. Virtually everything that comes out of his mouth makes me smile. I can't imagine a quality in somebody that would be more enjoyable to have than that. His ability to anticipate what is likely to happen is as good as anybody and that is really what great analysts do. It's not just the ability to see what happened and say why this team is winning or this team is losing, it's the anticipation of knowing what is going to happen and why it is going to happen. That is what he brings to the table that is so great."
During his years on the air, Machock has seen his share of great moments in Bearcat basketball history. From numerous conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight appearance, Machock has seen it all, but one moment stands out the most.
"Certainly the win in Alaska against No. 1 Duke would be at the top," he says. "That doesn't happen; to win a tournament against the No. 1 team in the country very often. The numerous conference championships were great, but if you said No. 1, it would have to be the win against Duke."
One of the more (in)famous moments in Bearcat history occurred during the 2003 NCAA Tournament and surprisingly, Machock was in the center of the controversy. In UC's opening round contest against Gonzaga, a no call on a traveling violation by Gonzaga sent Huggins into a heated debate with one of the officials. The official that failed to make the call, but wasn't involved in the debate with Huggins, then came over and quickly assessed the coach a pair of technical fouls, causing an immediate ejection for the coach. Machock takes over the story from there.
"My father was a football and basketball official in the Big Ten for 22 years in football and 21 in basketball," Machock says. "He refereed the Rose Bowl and got to do a Final Four, so I think I know what a good official is all about and I think I know that personalities make an official. The bad part of it was after the technical shots, the official that put the ball in play right in front of me was the one that threw out Huggs. I said something to the effect of, `I hope you are satisfied. You threw the coach out of the game and the game is supposed to be bigger than you.' About two seconds later, he turned around and said to me, `Sit down and be quiet.'
"Shortly after that, there was the 16-minute media timeout in the second half and the official just stood there and stared at me for the first minute and a half of the timeout. So finally I just stood up and stared at him. With my mic on, I said, `For what, for what did you throw Huggs out? About five minutes later, the police came over and said I had to leave. I said, `Why would I have to leave?' The policeman said he (the official) said you called him (a profanity) five times."
Later that evening, Machock met with then-Director of Athletics Bob Goin and following an investigation by Goin, Machock was cleared of any wrongdoing by UC.
"The funny part of that story is that I had sat with Lute Olson of Arizona and one of his assistants I know real well watching Cincinnati practice the day before," Machock concludes. "The winner of the UC-Gonzaga game was going to play Arizona. So while I was being escorted out, here came Arizona's coaching staff and they had been sitting on a bus watching the game. I said good luck in the next game and he said, `I sure hope we have more luck than you did!' "