Posted on 27 March 2013.
Traveling with the team to every Butler men’s basketball game are two men who do not play for the team but are just as important to the team and Butler’s fans.
Calling the Butler men’s basketball games for the last three seasons are Brandon Gaudin, Butler’s play-by-play voice, and Nick Gardner, Butler’s color analyst, on Indianapolis’s ESPN 1070 The Fan.
Gaudin is an alumnus of Butler. While Gaudin attended Butler he doubled majored in political science and communications. He also doubled minored sports broadcasting and business.
Before attending Butler Gaudin knew what he wanted to do since he was young.
“I realized that I probably would not be good enough to play baseball professionally,” Gaudin said. “So I started to listen to the announcers and realized that maybe announcing would be an opportunity to always be around the game of baseball.”
In high school Gaudin began his broadcasting career. “I talked one of my teachers in to allowing me to be on a small radio station in Evansville doing the play-by-play for high school baseball,” Gaudin said.
“It catapulted my love for play-by-play and kept me in the field of broadcasting from then until now.”
During his time at Butler Gaudin balanced his time with classes, broadcasting experience and internships. Gaudin interned for the Texas Rangers’ radio network. He also interned for ESPN in New York City.
“My motto was to get good grades,” Gaudin said. “But beyond grades I would see what I could put on my resume besides my GPA and that was by getting experience not only on campus but through internships and networking.”
As a student he was named “Most Outstanding Communications Student” and he was one of the top ten male students in his 2006 graduating class.
Gardner is also an alum of Butler. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in integrated communications specializing in public relations and advertising.
Gardner also played basketball at Butler. He played during high school and was looking to continue through college. Gardner was an all-conference and all-county athlete at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
“I was not highly recruited coming out of high school,” Gardner said.
Gardner said he had some opportunities to play at the NCAA division three level but wanted to continue playing basketball at the highest level possible.
“It was it either I’m not going to play or I was going to try to play for a scholarship,” Gardner said.
Gardner came to Butler as a walk-on the men’s basketball team as a forward during the 2000-2001 basketball season. In his senior year he earned a full scholarship.
Gardner’s and Gaudin’s paths to broadcasting live on the radio for Butler were different.
Gardner did not go straight into the broadcasting industry. After graduation Gardner went to work for his family’s bakery supply company.
Two years later, Gardner was offered to work on the radio broadcast team for Butler basketball.
Butler was looking for a new radio team for basketball after Chris Denari, former play-by-play voice for 17 years, took the job as the play-by-play voice for the Indiana Pacers on Fox Sports Indiana.
Butler hired Joe Gentry, director of corporate sponsorships and manager of radio and television, to do the play-by-play and Gardner as the color analyst.
“It just fell onto my lap,” Gardner said. “I think it was former Butler head coach Todd Lickliter who recommended me to the radio broadcast. I think he might have thought I would be good at it because I never really had any broadcasting experience and they called to offer me the job.”
“We were looking for somebody with basketball knowledge and someone who knew our system,” Gentry said. “To have a former player like Nick was the best of all possible scenarios.”
Gardner is in his seventh season as color analyst for Butler basketball.
Unlike Gardner, Gaudin immediately began in the broadcast industry after graduation.
Gaudin took a job doing play-by-play for the Salt Lake City Bees, the minor league affiliate for the Los Angeles Angels. While doing play-by-play Gaudin was also a talent producer for ESPN.
After working on radio broadcast for the Salt Lake City Bees and at ESPN, Gaudin teamed up with Erik Sorenson, former president of MSNBC, and Robert Grossman, former senior producer for Larry King Live, in 2007 to form MediaOne Management Group in New York City.
Two years later Gaudin returned to radio broadcast at the University of Evansville. Gaudin took over as the main play-by-play voice for University of Evansville athletics.
“My role at Evansville was much different than my role at Butler,” Gaudin said. “At Evansville I had to wear all hats. I taught students broadcasting and called baseball, basketball and soccer.”
During Butler’s first run to the national championship in 2010 Gaudin said he heard there was going to be a job opportunity for Butler’s play-by-play voice.
“When I heard the job was open I jumped all over it, Gaudin said. “I called right away and started interviewing. A couple months later the job, fortunately, became mine.”
“Gaudin was the best candidate we had in the field,” Gentry said. “He had the whole package we were looking for and he was our first choice.”
Gaudin is now in his third season as the play-by-play voice for Butler basketball.
For the three seasons Gaudin and Gardner have been broadcasting together, Butler fans have been able to enjoy a thorough broadcast of Butler basketball games.
“We have had, historically, good announcers in the field,” Gentry said.
“Gaudin does such a great job with the broadcast,” said Mark Minner, studio host for 1070 The Fan during Butler basketball games.
“He carries himself very professionally. He manages the game exactly the way you would want to as a play-by-play man. You really couldn’t find a better model in terms of college basketball play-by-play.”
Gaudin and Gardner arrive at each game prepared to broadcast live. Both said they spend hours studying footage of Butler and the opponent.
Before the Butler game against Marquette University Gaudin said he watched Marquette’s previous game to get to know the opponent’s players.
“One of the biggest parts of play-by-play is memorizing the other team’s player and what they look like,” Gaudin said. “I’ll make a spreadsheet with everyone’s name and statistics.”
It is also not all about studying film. Gaudin and Gardner attend some of Butler’s practices during the week and Butler’s shoot around before each game to get a better understanding of the team’s play.
“I really like to have a good idea what Butler is going to do to attack their opponent,” Gardner said. “It is my job as the analyst to try and help everybody understand what is going on the floor.”
During the broadcast Gaudin and Gardner have great chemistry with each other.
“It is important for me to be quick with what I have to say,” Gardner said, “so Brandon can get back on the microphone and explain to people what is going on.”
“Most analysts a lot of times add fluff,” Gaudin said. “Nick brings true color to the broadcast.”
Gaudin and Gardner said their chemistry makes the broadcast easy to do.
“Nick is very easy to work with,” Gaudin said. “I think Nick ranks right up there with one of the best analysts on radio that I have heard. He sure takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders.”
“He makes it real easy on me,” Gardner said. “He’s a fantastic play-by-play guy. I think he does a great job of describing not only the action but the atmosphere with which the game is surrounded.”
Each game called by Gaudin and Gardner is lively and exciting to listen because both are fans of the sport and Butler basketball.
“They have a passion for the game,” Minner said. “If you listen to a game called by Nick and Brandon it is hard not to get excited.”
“There are different kinds of broadcasters,” Gaudin said. “You either are a neutral broadcaster and you can be excited for both teams. When you are the voice for a specific team, it’s okay to be a little bit more excited for that team.
“My excitement certainly comes through. When Butler makes big runs you can tell through my voice. In close moments it’s key to maintain your composure to still be able to relay to the listeners what the heck is going on.”
“Gardner bleeds Butler blue,” Minner said.
“I’m still a fan first and foremost,” Gardner said. “To get to know the team on a personal level makes calling the game much more exiting. Just trying to give fans a small window into the team is the most fulfilling part of broadcasting.”
Though Gaudin and Gardner are fans of Butler basketball they still conduct a non-bias broadcast.
“Obviously they are working for Butler,” Minner said. “At the same point and time they are able to do it in a very neutral way. They call the game as it should be.”
Outside of radio broadcasting Gaudin and Gardner have other work.
This was the first season Gardner worked on television broadcasts for Butler basketball on WNDY-TV. Gardner was the color analyst alongside Anthony Calhoun, play-by-play voice and sports director at WISH-TV.
When the Butler basketball season is done, Gaudin works on sports broadcasting for the NCAA on Tuner Sports. Gaudin does the play-by-play for NCAA division one championships for baseball and golf.