For the first time in 19 years, a student has taken over the job of the official radio play-by-play announcer for the UCSB women’s basketball team, according to Assistant Athletics Director Bill Mahoney.
Fourth-year Mitchell Clements enters his first season at the job after Matt Hurst left for an administrative job at UCLA.
“The experience has been awesome,” Clements said. “For me, it’s a growing experience. Having this opportunity at this young of an age, I don’t want to waste it, so I’ve been taking it as seriously as possible and so far it’s been panning out really well.”
Involved with the job not only includes doing the radio, but travelling with the team to every game. For Clements, a San Diego native, the road trips have been one of the highlights of the experience. So far this year, he’s travelled with the team to Seattle and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
“I’ve been with the team every step of the way on road trips,” Clements said. “I’m there eating with them. It’s awesome and it’s unique. I don’t know of any other teams in the NCAA where they have their broadcaster travel with the team. It’s usually an independent thing.”
Ironically, Clements didn’t go looking for the job. Instead, the job found him.
“It’s a funny story,” Clements said. “I just heard through the grapevine that [Hurst] was leaving, so I said goodbye and it was his last day in the office. It had never even crossed my mind, but he was like, ‘you should totally apply for the women’s basketball job.’”
Hurst helped Clements put together his demo reel and critiqued his KCSB broadcasts to improve his broadcast quality. After turning in the demo reels, Clements received an interview. “I think [Clements is] outstanding,” Mahoney said.
“I pressed hard for him to get the position. He is an incredibly hard worker. He’s done us proud.”
While Clements may be a student, he has gained plenty of experience.
After deciding in high school that he wanted to go into sports journalism, Clements committed to being a Gaucho. In fact, the only reason he applied to UCSB was because of Jim Rome.
“I knew [Rome] had a successful broadcasting career afterwards and I was like, ‘I’m not Jim, but if this place worked for him, it could do wonders for me as well,’” Clements said. “I knew he did stuff at KCSB, so naturally the first week I looked into how to the join the station.”
Wanting to be comfortable behind the microphone before going into sports broadcasting, Clements started as a DJ for KJUC, KCSB’s AM station. The next quarter, Clements got his own show with KCSB and joined the sports staff.
“My first game as color, I was too scared to do play- by-play, and I maybe had two minutes of talking, but I was so scared,” Clements said. “It was a women’s basketball game against Pacific. Even though it was probably unbearable to listen to, I had fun and I’ve never left since.”
His junior year, Clements became the KCSB sports director, which meant organizing all the sports broadcasts that KCSB would broadcast.
“It was a great experience learning how to organize and not only put on the broadcasts, but try and train the broadcasters to put on quality broadcasts,” Clements said.
As for the future, Clements dream is to anchor the primetime edition of SportsCenter.
“I think I’m on my way, but I know it’s tough. A lot of luck is involved [to break into the industry],” Clements said. “I think the best way to approach that is to work hard. That’s why I’ve been given this opportunity.”
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of January 23rd, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.