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Four Questions: A Conversation with…Chris Edwards

FOUR QUESTIONS: A CONVERSATION WITH… Chris Edwards

He has called numerous regular season, playoff and North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championship games for Time Warner for a myriad of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and cheerleading.

In addition to his role with Time Warner, Chris will be in his fourth season this spring as the “Voice of Duke Baseball”, calling all 56 games for the Duke baseball team along with hosting a weekly coaches show during the course of the season. Outside of his Duke baseball duties, he also calls games for other Blue Devil teams such as volleyball and soccer. He has also filled in as the public address announcer at Cameron Indoor Stadium and has been featured on ESPN3 broadcasts.

 

 

You’ve been the play-by-play voice for Time Warner SportsChannel in this first year of its live high school football telecasts on Thursday night.  Talk about that experience and the challenge of preparing to announce two different teams every week, as opposed to your work with Duke baseball where you’re covering one team and its opponents throughout a season.

First, let me say what an honor it is to be the one, along with our great crew, to provide North Carolina with a great high school football game each week. Our team has been very fortunate to have all of the schools be so welcoming.

I feel like our product has been stellar,  and that starts with the talent folks in our production truck: Jason Lockhart, Matt Hayhurst, Bob Carroll and Sarah Justice, who do such a great job making us look and sound good each Thursday night. The two people that work the game with me each week, analyst Jay Sonnhalter and sideline reporter Erin Summers, are outstanding and are the reason that our broadcast sound so good. They are the hardest working group that I’ve been around and I’m humbled to play a small part.

There are challenges that you are presented each week – I’ll be honest, most of the time I feel like I’m cramming for an exam as I attempt to learn as much as possible about the teams that we are covering and then making sure I articulate that information to the viewer in an entertaining manner. We have been lucky that all of the coaches have been great in sending over rosters, depth charts, stats and making themselves available for phone conversations and allowing our team to visit practice.

When you do a statewide game like we are doing every Thursday night, you often times find yourself outside your area and I leaned very heavily on local newspapers (I can not tell you how many subscriptions I have to local newspapers around the state) to help educate me on the storylines for both schools.

The one thing that I really enjoy about doing these games is the preparation that goes into the games, where I have the opportunity to learn about the teams, schools and communities. Every town, school and player has a story to tell and I feel very blessed that I’ve been trusted with the honor of telling those stories. 

 

Describe one of the most memorable games or events you’ve ever covered in any sport.

This season is my eighth calling high school football – which began when I started doing Garner High School games in the fall of 2007.  I have been lucky to call several state championships both for Garner and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, which is always something that I consider an honor because of the amount of hard work that the players and coaches have put in just to reach that game.

It is really hard to single out one or two events that I have covered so if you’ll allow me, here are a few that come to me off the top of my head:

Calling Garner High’s 2011 East Regional Final victory over Jack Britt at Trojan Stadium — it was a classic between two really talented high school football teams. As you might imagine, the game went down to the wire and Garner scored the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a pass from Vince Jefferies to Tim Thorb.

The following winter, the Garner varsity men’s basketball team won the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational, becoming the first public school since the 1980’s to win the tournament – to see the emotion on the face of Eddie Gray was priceless.

The very first NCHSAA state championship game that I did for Time Warner was in 2013 and was the 2AA game between T.W. Andrews and Monroe. Andrews won the game on a touchdown pass with less than 30 seconds left to win the game, not a bad way to end your first season.

Duke Baseball had a magic run to within one game of the ACC Tournament Championship game in the spring of 2013. Duke had to defeat Miami to play for the title the next day and with the Blue Devils down by two with two out in the bottom of the ninth, a freshman came up and hit a two-run pinch-hit home run to send the game to extra innings – that was such a thrill.

I’ve also been lucky to do public address for Duke men’s basketball inside Cameron Indoor Stadium, and that’s something that will never get old. 

Those are just a few moments off the top of my head and I sure hope I get to add to that list.

 

How did you get involved in media work—was it something that you always wanted to do or something that came up later for you?

When I finally came to realization that I was not going to replace Fred McGriff as the first basemen of the Atlanta Braves, I started thinking that maybe I could find a way to be involved in athletics. My first thought, of course, was coaching but like my dad always told me: “Son, those who cannot play coach, and those who cannot do either, become broadcasters.”

Well, that pretty much settled it for me – I was going to try my hand at broadcasting and it really started when I was still in grade school, probably 6-7 years old; my grandfather converted an old dog house into a “radio station” where I had a toy microphone hanging from the ceiling and a school desk inside the dog house where I would spend hours in the summer pretending that I was on the radio, just talking to myself.

My sports broadcasting adventure started about the same time when I would sit in my room playing sports video games and while I was playing the video game, I would mute the television and call the games out-loud.

The first chance I really had to be on the air was when Garner wanted to broadcast games on the Internet and spent six great seasons calling games for Garner. I also spent a couple of summers working in the Coastal Plain League calling baseball games in Thomasville and Wilson.

I’ve always wanted to do something in broadcasting and I’m lucky to have had the opportunities with Garner, Time Warner Cable and with Duke where I call the baseball, volleyball, men’s soccer and a few other sports.

 

Away from your work, what are some things that you enjoy doing?

I do not get a lot of time away from calling games and that is fine by me. There’s an old saying: “if you love what you are doing, then you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s true for me and I love going to a new field, stadium, etc. because you never know what you’re going to see.

That said, when I do get time away, I try to golf when I can (but that doesn’t mean anything), I still play a lot of Army golf (left, right, left, right…). I also enjoy doing things outside, around the house, spending time with friends and family. I’m also getting married in January (after football season but before baseball) so I’ve been knee deep in honey-do lists as we prepare for the big day!