By Jeff Bunch
EWU broadcaster Larry Weir says the best thing about being named 2014 Washington Sportscaster of the Year is that he is connected to a feat accomplished many times by his role model.
Weir, the radio play-by-play voice of Eastern Washington University since 1991, was selected on Jan. 7 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) as the 2014 Sportscaster of the Year for the state of Washington.
As a young man growing up in rural Waitsburg, Washington, Weir laid his career foundations while listening to a broadcasting legend who won the award a dozen times.
“When I was a kid, I listened religiously to Bob Roberston doing Washington State games and that’s how I learned to be a play-by-play broadcaster. Through the years of listening to him, I learned what you’re supposed to do …,” said Weir. “Probably the most rewarding thing for me about this award is it’s an award Bob won 12 times. So, it’s kind of neat for me to kind of complete the circle in that way – in that he is probably the most important person for me in my formative years as a broadcaster. The fact that now that I’ve won something that he won so many times is meaningful for me.”
Weir recently completed his 24th season calling the play-by-play for Eagle football games and is currently in his 22nd for basketball. He was previously nominated in 2010.
“It feels pretty good, it’s kind of a validation in a way that peers are appreciative of what you’re doing,” said Weir, who has a degree from Walla Walla Community College and attended EWU in the 1980s before finding work in broadcast. “I thank Eastern Washington University for everything they’ve done over the years and the NSSA as well.”
Eastern officials are also grateful for the years of professionalism from Weir, who has been working with football coaches dating back to Dick Zornes.
“This is a great and well-deserved honor for Larry,” said Eastern Athletic Director Bill Chaves. “He has been the voice of Eagle Athletics for nearly a quarter century, and for many of our fans, parents and student-athletes, he is the link to them and Eastern Washington University. We are so proud of all his accomplishments.”
Weir travels with the football and men’s basketball teams but interacts with many of the team’s coaches and athletes for weekly radio shows and podcasts, so he is an embedded part of EWU athletics. He said he’s appreciative of people such as Paul Sorensen, his football play-by-play partner, who brought Weir to Eastern more than two decades ago, and longtime EWU Sports Information Director Dave Cook.
It’s been a good year for Weir. He told the game-by-game story of Eastern’s Big Sky Conference championship run and football playoff appearance and got to call one of Eastern’s all-time biggest men’s basketball wins – a road win over iconic Indiana.
“It’s been so fun this season so far and it has been for a while,” said Weir. “The coaches are fantastic to work with … They’re always willing to go above and beyond – and the athletes are just fantastic. They do such a great job recruiting great citizens as well as great athletes. It makes it so easy and the games are fun. I mean, I make my living by going to ballgames, so how hard is that?”
Besides his play-by-play duties, Weir also hosts weekly football and men’s basketball coaches radio shows; produces “Eagle Minute” programming and other advertising content, does regular podcasts with EWU department staff and coaches and provides oversight of all live and pre-produced content aired during the broadcasts.
Since moving back to Spokane in 2012, Weir has also broadcast Greater Spokane League games on radio and other various sporting events on SWX TV. He has also worked extensively in minor league baseball in the past, with stints with the Spokane Indians and the Yakima Bears. Weir has also spent several seasons as the play-by-play voice for the Spokane Shock arena football team, and is master of ceremonies regularly at a number of EWU events, including the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The other finalists for this year’s award were Mike Boyle (Spokane Chiefs/Spokane Indians) and Dave Grosby (ESPN 710/Seattle University basketball). Weir is one of only three broadcasters from the eastern Washington region to have won the award, joining Frank Herron (KNEW in Spokane, 1959) and Bud Nameck (KXLY in Spokane/WSU Radio Network, 1994 and 2008) as recipients. But Robertson (Seattle/WSU/Spokane Indians) is the dean of them all.
All previous winners of the broadcaster and sportswriter awards may be found at: http://nssafame.com/2011/04/01/washington/