Chasing a fourth NBA ring
Tim Roye ’81 has been the “the voice of the Golden State Warriors” for more than 20 years.
With that in mind, it was only natural for Roye to deliver the 2017 convocation address on August 28, welcoming more than 700 new students to campus.
Roye, a former member of both the Tangerine and WPNR staffs, has spent 28 years working play by play for the NBA, including two trips to the NBA finals.
“I wanted to be a sports broadcaster since I was eight years old. By coming here, I was able to get into the campus radio station right away and I started broadcasting games and sportscasts. A station in town, WIBX, was looking for a backup minor league hockey announcer in 1979. I walked in and I met their criteria. I was young, I was naïve, and I could be had cheap, so I signed on with them. That started my career.”
After working at WIBX, Roye eventually landed jobs in Birmingham, Alabama; Phoenix, Arizona; and Sacramento, California. Then, in 1995, while doing some of the Sacramento Kings work in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors heard Roye asked him to be their radio voice.
He’s done it ever since.
“It's been a nice journey, but it did start in Utica.”
According to Roye, when he was looking to be a sports broadcaster, “the big schools were Syracuse and Boston University, and they're both fine schools, but I came from a small, all guys, Catholic high school in Connecticut, and I think there was more people in freshman English at those other two schools than in my entire school, so I decided to look at this place at the urging of a friend. We seemed to have a good fit, it was a good fit for me.”
The combination of a small campus, and the ability to speak one-on-one with his professors made for the perfect fit, in Roye’s opinion. So, the future broadcaster enrolled in the public relations and journalism program with a minor in literature.
“It's the perfect combination. Who knows when you need a quote from Poe, you know, I mean?”
Graduate of Utica College's Public Relations - Journalism program Tim Roye '81 tells the story of his journey from WPNR sports announcer to the voice of the Golden State Warriors.
His experiences at UC gave him the opportunity to grab what he wanted to do by being involved on the campus and having teachers that not only cared about you in class but knew what he was doing outside of class.
“They encouraged that, and so that gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and to put my name on the line. That, and the fact that because I was a dual major with a minor, I did have a good background in terms of, I could see things from a lot of different angles and so that allows me to communicate better, which in turn helps my job. I think as important as anything else was the opportunity was there to learn right away what I needed to do. I don't think at another school I would have had the opportunity in just that way.”
When describing his job, Roye likens it to the closest he’ll ever get to traveling with a chart-hitting rock band.
“We have people waiting for us everywhere we go. We've gone from organization that, at one time, was probably a punchline to, now, we're the Beatles. We travel with guys that kids adore and we have people waiting in hotel lobbies to get autographs and people who will travel from the Bay Area to other cities just to watch a game on the road because they can't get tickets at home. It's an incredible experience. We're in the run of the franchise, and it's kind of daunting but it's also an honor to be telling the story of a historic event.”
That organization has been named Best Sports Organization two years in a row, and the Golden State Warriors have been in the NBA finals three years in a row, making for an incredible run.
“It's unbelievable. Everywhere we go people are screaming out players' names and they want players to sign something. Everywhere we go people are showing up early to games just to watch our guys warm up and that's an incredible thing. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, to be quite honest with you.”
One-in-a-lifetime, perhaps, but something Tim Roye has wanted all his life, or at least most of his life, going back to early childhood.
“My mom thought I was crazy because she'd hear voices coming out of my bedroom when I was little. One day she walked down the hall and peeked in and I was announcing a game to myself with my cards spread out on my bed and so she knew I wasn't crazy, but she thought I was little odd. It's all I've ever wanted to do and I knew it coming to Utica College, I knew it from the earliest days, this is what I wanted to do. I had a couple of things that kind of pushed me in that direction and I just kept following that until I got to where the level of where I wanted to be.”
The advantage, Roye says, that Utica College can give someone who wants to do what he does, is access.
“You can come in right away and you can come in and get into that radio station and have a chance to work games, where at other schools you won't have that chance right away because you'll be in a line. Again, I think the background you can get at Utica College is that you can get an education that is well-rounded and helps you communicate. Some of the best broadcasters I know were not broadcast majors, they weren't journalism majors, but they might have been something else. I think being well-rounded when you're a communicator is a key, especially with what I do because I see repetitive motions, I see repetitive plays over and over again. They do kind of the same thing.”
It's the personal nature of Utica College, according to Roye, that gives people the opportunity to develop themselves more than they may find at other institutions.
“I think by the fact that when you walk around campus and the teachers and the administrators and the coaches, they know who you are. I think there's a better level of support and caring there, just by that familiarity. Now, you're not just a number, that people will understand if you're having a rough go. There are people there that will know you and know what's going on and help you. I think the fact that it is a tight community and that it's a community where, if you are in trouble with a grade or just need somebody to talk to, there's access. I just think that's a big deal when I think a lot of times kids get overwhelmed with college and I think it's hard for them to find somebody to lift them up and to get them back on track. I think Utica College has that because of the familiarity and because of the intimacy that you have on that campus.”
Before giving the convocation address to new students, Roye reflected on not just what brought him back to the halls of UC, but how those very halls helped send him on the path that would lead him back home again.
“One of the reasons that I'm working a job that's a dream job for me, is that it started here. It started here. Utica College is a big reason why I got off to the start in my business and in my passion. Because of what I do and the travel I have I never seem to get close to here, we're always four hours away somehow just because of the way our league is set up. When I get an opportunity and the first thing I think it's kind of an honor and to come and maybe in some way, it might be some line or something I say that will put an incoming freshman maybe a little bit more at ease. Then maybe, okay, he went through that, so maybe it's not as scary as I think it is.”
On one of his fingers, it’s hard not to notice the large 2015 Championship ring for the Golden State Warriors.
“And they were nice enough to give me one. It's really cool. I view it as a kind of lifetime achievement thing for me that symbolizes the reward for all the long nights, the buses riding to nowhere in the minor leagues and all the nights where I was wondering, ‘Am I ever going to get a great broadcaster job,’ this is the symbol of that, that the payoff was there.”
The ring is the result of the team’s NBA finals win in 2015, their first time in 40 years. With the symbol of their organization, the Bay Bridge, and 67 diamonds (one for each of their regular-season victories), every person in the organization received one.
“I'm very happy with what I do every day. It's allowed me to provide for my family and to put my kids into college and to give them a safe home growing up. I am so lucky because my dream got realized because I don't really have a job. I have something that I pursue with a passion. I get up every day, even when I'm dead tired and we've been on the road for a week and a half, or whatever it might be, but I wake up every day looking forward to the work. There's no price tag on that, there's no amount of money you could pay to take that away from me. I'm very, very lucky that way. I get up every day, it never feels like a job. It never feels like I have a burden to go to.”
And it all started at Utica College.
“I think one of the ways that Utica College contributed in that way for me was that when I was at college, I never felt overwhelmed by it all. I never felt like I was in over my head. If I had a problem with a concept, certain classes won't be mentioned, but I was able to get to the professor to help me. For that part, I never felt I was in a situation where I was in any sort of danger of getting swept away. By doing that, it allowed me to keep the broadcasting dream going. I can't tell you how many professors let me slide, not on the work but just on because I knew I was doing other things. They knew I was broadcasting while still in college and so they worked with me. That gave me a great comfort zone and I knew I was going to graduate from Utica College in a good way and I knew I was going to get a start in my profession because they cared for me and they helped me along the way.”
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