with athletes, practice makes perfect for Aggie sports
By Paul Kelley
November 25, 2008 | Rob Flygare is sitting in the
chair where he will spend the next three hours. It is
30 minutes to game time. He is reviewing an endless
list of names and numbers. The names run through his
head "Number 73, Kenny Avon; number 2, Seyi Ajirotutu."
Flygare checks the depth chart, which is a list of players
and the probability of each one of them playing, he
realizes Seyi is a starter, and will probably catch
some passes. "That's a hard one I better ask someone
how to say that one," Flygare thinks.
Rob is the public announcer for Utah State basketball
and football. He is more than just the public announcer;
he is the voice of the Aggies.
Rob leaves his chair to find the sports information
director from Fresno State, who will help him pronounce
the hard-to-say names on their team. Rob started preparing
Tuesday for this Saturday's football game against Fresno
State. "If you're playing a BYU, or a Utah, or now this
week Hawaii, those names are pretty hard. You got the
Polynesian connection there with all three of those
teams," says Flygare.
One time when he was PA announcing for a Mountain
Crest high school game, they were playing Timpview High
School, which has a lot of Polynesians on the team.
Rob was not pronouncing one of the player's names right,
and the mother of the player came up to the press box
and said, "Excuse me you are calling my son a dirty
"Oh sorry, I apologize, I didn't mean to, how do you
say it?" Rob replied to the mother.
"High school can be really hard sometimes, unless you
get down and talk to the coaches, which I should have
done, and I regret that I didn't do that you need to
It is 20 minutes until game time and Rob feels like
he is prepared to pronounce the names, Rob moves on
to the three-fourths-of-an-inch thick booklet, full
of advertisements, Rob will read throughout the game.
"Its fairly extensive, there is a lot to read in each
game," says Flygare.
Each game he is given a new booklet of advertisements
he will read throughout the game he has about ten minutes
to familiarize himself with the book. Utah State wants
to make money, and they sell these adds on a marketing.
"That's the way it was contracted, and I have to read
it pretty much the way it is written," says Flygare.
Growing up in Salt Lake City and attending Olympus
High School, Rob developed a love for sports. He excelled
in football, baseball and golf. That love for sports
directed him to a career in sports broadcasting. He
grew up watching sports and dreaming of the day when
he would be the one in front of the camera, telling
Rob remembers some of his role models growing up,
"I've just always loved sports, it was my life, and
I watched a lot of broadcasters, I have some heroes,
a guy that was in Salt Lake named Bill Howard, who has
passed away since. I loved his style, and he was such
a friendly, warm, very bright guy."
While in college at the University of Utah, Rob had
the opportunity to intern with Jim Nantz, a world-renowned
sports broadcaster. "When I was getting into broadcasting
I really liked Jim a lot," said Rob, "very professional
guy, and he taught me a lot about the business."
Even though rob has mostly worked in broadcasting,
he graduated with a degree in speech communication.
He owes his talented broadcasting style of today to
those speech classes. "I took speech classes, enunciation
classes," said Rob. I didn't know exactly at that point
what I was going to do with that, but I am glad I had
them, I really learned the trade in college; I learned
downward inflection at the end of the sentence, upward
inflection at certain times."
Providences is where Rob has lived for the last 14
years with his wife, Pam, and their two sons Matt and
Todd. Todd says the best thing about having a broadcaster
for a dad is, "I got as much free food as I wanted."
Ten minutes after reviewing the marketing ad's Rob
is ready to start reading the scripts. The university
is very strict about how the ads are read, and Rob has
little or no choice about his interpretation on the
way he reads them. He is about to start reading, the
official score keeper, sitting next to him hands him
the starting line-up for the game. He quickly glances
over the names, making sure they are all familiar, and
then starts reading.
As he reads, his voice is deep and rough, but at the
same time smooth and flowing. He flawlessly reads through
script after script, upward inflection here, downward
inflection there, emphasizing the pronunciation on each
business name. He continues reading with ease as fans
flow into the stadium, getting ready for the pandemonium
that is Aggie football.
Rob says, "Most of them at this point I have read
over and over. I don't need to look at them, but I do
look at each one of them, because sometimes there will
be a typo." In his ninth year as public announcer for
the Aggies the pre-game scripts are easy to read now.
The half-time shows are a different story for Flygare;
they are crazy and sometimes not well prepared. He tells
about a game during his years on the job when a local
dance company called Lashars was performing for halftime.
Seconds before the start of the performance Rob was
handed the hand-written script for the introduction
of the dance team. In his booming PA voice, he says,
"Now, ladies and gentleman, please welcome Lashars rimes
with stars Dance Company." They had written "rimes
with stars" so he would know how to pronounce the
name. "I wasn't supposed to say that, I was mortified,"
recalls Flygare. Remembering experiences like that makes
Rob laugh; this is the fun part of his job.
Growing up in Salt Lake City, Rob was raised a die-hard
University of Utah fan. He even had offers to play football
for Utah. Was it hard for Rob to come to his school's
bitter rivals? "I have really really self adopted the
Aggies, I love the Aggies, and when they play Utah I
root for the Aggies, and I never thought I would say
that, because I grew up as such an avid Ute fan, that
I didn't think anything would ever change that; It's
really in my blood, I really love the Aggies."
It is five minutes until game time; the Aggies are
about to play their last home game of the season. It
is also Jaycee Carroll's last home game as an Aggie.
Jaycee Carroll recently broke the school record for
total points. Over the last four years Rob has become
good friends with a lot of athletes. "You get to know
the basketball players a lot better than the football
players," says Rob. "Because you're down there on the
court. You see them, they see you."
He reviews the starting line ups for each team. The
music starts and the Aggie mascot Big Blue repels from
the ceiling. The slow clap is started by the students
and grows into a loud roar, as Rob screams, "And now
for your Utah State Aggies." The crowd goes wild as
Rob announces each player. He comes to Jaycee Carroll's
name and pauses briefly, then screams, " Playing guard
from Evanston, Wyoming, Jaayyceee Carrolooll."
Rob remembers that night, it was a pretty hard night,
Carroll was a really good friend, "I love Jaycee." Despite
his emotion he flows right into the game and flawlessly
announces the game for the spectrum. Corinne Smith,
a broadcast journalism major at Utah State has been
going to Aggie games for two years now, and she has
grown used to Rob Flygare as the voice of the Aggies.
"The inspirational tones of his voice makes me feel
at home in the Spectrum," says Smith.
Rob plans to be the voice of the Aggies for many years
to come. "I hope they will continue to let me do it,
I mean I am not that old," says Rob. At $50 a game,
Rob does not regard the public announcer position as
a job, but more of a service to the university that
he loves. "I love the Aggies, I have lived and died
with the Aggies."