Grab your headset and notebook — it’s game time.
A special partnership between Rollins College and the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting at Full Sail University was celebrated Saturday, Jan. 19, as legendary sportscaster Dan Patrick stepped into the announcing booth with some of his students to call a Rollins College home basketball game.
The award-winning sportscaster and radio personality had a chance to give students from the sportscasting school some tips and insight in a live game situation.
It was a learning experience made possible by an ongoing partnership that allows students of the sportscasting school to call sporting events at Rollins College for WPRK 91.5 FM. Students have the chance to call and provide commentary for soccer, lacrosse, basketball and just about every other sport offered at Rollins.
“You have to have practical experience, and to be able to do play-by-play or color commentating or if you’re going to be a camera man, I want you to be out doing things in the real world,” Patrick said. “This is close as the students will get, thanks to the relationship with Rollins College. They said, ‘Come on in. Our campus is your campus. Our sports are your sports. Come in and cover them. That is such a godsend for these students.’”
Patrick said it is critical to get reps calling games in a real-life scenario.
“What do you say, how are you saying it and less is more — get in to say something to get out to allow your analyst to come in and complement what you’re saying,” Patrick said. “If you’re doing radio, you have to describe everything. If it’s TV you have to complement what we’re seeing.
“They’re learning all of these things, and that’s where you’re going to make mistakes. But you can make a mistake before you make the mistake when you get a real job. I made my mistakes in the real world. They’re making their mistakes now in front of their students — that’s a far better way to learn.”
Rollins College President Grant Cornwell said it’s been a great relationship so far with Full Sail. It’s nice to play a part in giving the sportscasting students some hands-on experience with learning their craft, he said.
“I make a parallel to learning to be a scientist — you can’t learn to be a scientist by sitting in a classroom,” Cornwell said. “You have to be in a laboratory doing science. … I think what’s going on here if I may say with the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting is students are learning the arts of the broadcasting profession by being broadcasters rather than sitting in a classroom studying it.”
Providing a learning environment in which students can hone their craft ties into one of the main reasons Patrick started the school in the first place, he said.
“I just want to provide you with the answers to the test — that if you go to ESPN, this is what they’re going to ask you when you go in,” Patrick said. “This is what you need to know.”
It’s been about a year since the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting first opened. Students are learning the nuances of following games and analyzing athletes in real-time — and Patrick can’t wait to see them use what they’ve learned in a job setting, he said.
“Our first students graduating will be emotional for me, because you’re carrying my name — that’s why I want you to be great,” Patrick said. “I want you to go out and be the best that you can be. When you’re great, our school is great. The next student who gets a job is great. … I’ve been able to do a lot of things, from handing out the Super Bowl trophy to hosting the Olympics, but when I see my first students graduate, I’ll be as proud of that as I will with anything I’ve ever done in this business.”