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Bradley Hilltopics

Fall 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 4  

Web Extras
Last Lecture series | “Re-firing” your life | Hartmann turns 100 slideshow | Forbes.com contest | Holocaust survivor addresses students | Camping with the Bears | New library cafe | Accounting society honored | BU: Who Knew? | Soccer sees best start since 2002 | Tennis coach keeps winning | Chiefs P.A. announcer | Athletics promoters honored | Slideshows and Video: Hartmann turns 100; GEN. SHALIKASHVILI ’58 HON ’94 video; Campaign galas: St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles

 


Photo by Duane Zehr

Chiefs announcer has grand-slam summer

By D.J. PIEHOWSKI ’10

When KEVIN McCLELLAND ’11 came to Bradley from Berea, Ohio, without any baseball loyalties, he was told one thing by the other freshmen on his floor: “You can either be a Cubs fan, Cardinals fan or White Sox fan.”

“Most of the other kids on my floor were Cubs fans, and I didn’t really know too much about all the rivalries, so I just said, ‘Sure, I’ll be a Cubs fan,’” said McClelland.

Choosing “Cubbie blue” could have saved McClelland from an awkward transition into his new job — public address announcer for the Peoria Chiefs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

“Working for the Chiefs, you kind of have to like the Cubs,” he said with a laugh.

McClelland may not have had the opportunity to audition for the job, had it not been for one of his non-sports-related hobbies — singing in a barbershop quartet.

“The quartet I sing with won the collegiate division of the Illinois District Competition in May, so then DAN WESSLER ’08, TIM BEUTEL ’09, and BEN HARDING ’11 lined up a few gigs for the summer,” McClelland said. “After they had those all set, they asked me to stay in Peoria and sing with them.”

McClelland recalled that if he had known earlier in the year that he would be staying in Peoria for the summer, he would have tried to get a job with the Peoria Chiefs, a fact that he mentioned to KATY FEDDERSEN ’11, who was already working as a promotions intern for the Class A ball club.

“One day, I got a text message from her asking if I would be interested in the P.A. job because the seat was open,” McClelland said.

He immediately called to find out if the job had been filled and was asked to come to O’Brien Field that day for an audition.

“I bolted downstairs right away and borrowed my buddy’s car,” he said. “When I showed up, they were having a busy day, so I had to sit and wait forever. I was just sitting there all sweaty and nervous thinking, “I’m never nervous about anything in my life. This is actually happening.’ ”

After the equipment was set up and ready to go, McClelland was given three scripts to read to an empty ballpark.

“They just told me to read them like I would read them,” he said. “So I did my little public address thing, and then they called me upstairs and said, “Kevin, when can you start?’ ”

McClelland never looked back and is now able to reflect on his first season as the Chiefs P.A. announcer.

“The highlight of the summer was definitely being able to read Carlos Zambrano’s name in the lineup,” he said. “He was down for a rehab start, and it was just electric to be able to say, “AND THE STARTING PITCHER FOR THE PEORIA CHIEFS, NO. 39, CARLOS ZAMBRANO.’ And then 7,600 people start yelling and screaming, and it’s just really cool.”

McClelland, who said his dream job would be calling Lebron James’ name in a similar fashion at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, went on to say that while some games are better than others, there are still lessons to be learned from each one.

“You do have some games when it’s a Thursday night, 500 people are in the stands, and we’re losing 8-1,” he said. “It’s hard to keep that level of excitement up. But one thing that my boss always tells me is that this could be someone’s first Peoria Chiefs game, and you want to make a positive impression on them, which is a neat way to think about things.”

McClelland, who declared a major in Organizational Communication during his freshman year, will be one of the first students to graduate from Bradley’s Sports Communication program, a new concentration that was introduced by the Department of Communication for the 2009-10 school year.

“Organizational Com is a great major, but, for me, Sports Com is a little more special,” McClelland said. “I knew I wanted to do something in sports. Sports Com is set up to give you a broad understanding of how communication works.”

McClelland said the program offers a wide-range look at the sports industry, but it’s important that students take it upon themselves to gain experience and take advantage of networking opportunities.

“They teach you what you need to know, but you really have to take the initiative, which is why I’m really glad I landed the Chiefs job.”

While his post-graduation plans are not yet finalized, McClelland is confident that a concentration in Sports Com will allow him to keep his options open when he eventually pursues a career in sports.

“Basketball is probably my sport of choice, and I’m a huge Cavs fan,” he said. “Being a public address announcer for them would be great, but then again, so would the on-floor promotions end of things. I’m sure I could even be a mascot and have fun with it.”

 

Last Lecture series | “Re-firing” your life | Hartmann turns 100 slideshow | Forbes.com contest | Holocaust survivor addresses students | Camping with the Bears | New library cafe | Accounting society honored | BU: Who Knew? | Soccer sees best start since 2002 | Tennis coach keeps winning | Chiefs P.A. announcer | Athletics promoters honored | Slideshows and Video: Hartmann turns 100; GEN. SHALIKASHVILI ’58 HON ’94 video; Campaign galas: St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles