Alumni and Friends | University Community

How did OHIO alumni sportscasters get to the NCAA championship game? They paid their dues

When undefeated No. 2-ranked Washington takes on undefeated No. 1 Michigan in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 8, two Ohio University alumni will broadcast the game to vast audiences.

The national championship game is a career peak for the play-by-play “Voice of the Washington Huskies” Tony Castricone (BSJ ’05) and University of Michigan sportscaster Brian Boesch (HTC ’11) who will do the pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for the Michigan Wolverines. Boesch also is play-by-play announcer for the University of Michigan NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball team.

“Brian is like a brother to me,” says Castricone. Boesch says the same about Castricone.

Intense preparation for the national championship game — “jammed with story lines” — will be a bit easier, says Boesch, because he’s listened to Castricone’s broadcasts of Washington football.

Friends and former roommates, Castricone and Boesch reached the national stage of college sports broadcasting by paying their dues, says their college mentor Tom Hodson, former director of WOUB Public Media and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Hodson recalls that Castricone and Boesch:

  • Started in college, broadcasting hundreds of high school sports games.
  • Worked at WOUB as students and at local radio stations WATH/WXTQ.
  • Did play-by-play and color commentary for Ohio University NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball games; Boesch  also called baseball games in the summer for the local Southern Ohio Copperheads.
  • Worked for LEARFIELD broadcasting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where they were roommates. They became studio hosts for major schools like UCLA, Notre Dame, and Kentucky.

Boesch was play-by-play announcer for the MLB Single-A Advanced Affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, Winston-Salem Dash minor league baseball team (2012-2017), twice named broadcaster of the year in the Carolina League.

Castricone was sports editor of The Athens Messenger, winning an Associated Press award for breaking the story of the hiring of Frank Solich as Ohio University football coach.

As a first-year college student in Athens, Boesch recalls being shy.

“I was trying to find my footing on my own and I ran into Tom Hodson, who was doing OHIO women’s basketball on the radio,” Boesch said. “He asked me if I ever thought about broadcasting. I chuckled. But before I knew it, I was doing halftime updates and color commentary.”

Looking back, Hodson says “these guys have put in the work, and they have risen to the pinnacle of college sports broadcasting at very young ages.”

Tony Castricone and Tom Hodson
Tony Castricone (left) and Tom Hodson called high school sports games when Castricone was a student at Ohio University and Hodson was director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Photo courtesy of Tom Hodson

Advice for others

Boesch knows that legions of ambitious broadcasters yearn to work a national championship game. Hard work and strong performance “give you a higher likelihood” of advancement, not a guarantee, he said.

Days before the national championship game, Castricone shared this perspective: “Surround yourself with great people, mentors, coaches and listen to their advice, and then be yourself and pour all of yourself into what you do. And build great relationships. Authentic relationships lift your soul and encourage you so that you have positive energy to put into your work and provide you with constructive feedback you need to hear so you can grow.”

“It’s fine to have dreams and goals, but dreams and goals don’t make you better. Doing a lot of long, tedious, boring, monotonous work does,” he said.

Tony Castricone and Brian Boesch  are shown next to a moving truck in 2017
Brian Boesch (left) and Tony Castricone were roommates in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They are shown here on moving day in 2017 when Castricone headed west. Photo courtesy of Brian Boesch

A pair from small-town Ohio

Passionate and amped-up when calling games, Castricone describes himself “a kid from a 46-acre pine tree farm in Centerburg, Ohio” who is humbled to be part of a big-time college sports media team.

After the College Football Playoff semi-final games on New Year’s Day — when the Washington vs. Michigan matchup was set — Castricone heard from another broadcaster with roots in Ohio: his former roommate Boesch.

Boesch, a native of Medina, Ohio who excelled at high school bowling, posted this succinct message on social media:

“See you in Houston, @Castricone. So proud to call you a friend.”

January 4, 2024
Ken Klein and Cheri Russo