Back in 2008 when the University of Texas radio was searching for someone to work its game day football studio show, play-by-play voice Craig Way offered a suggestion.
In fact, Way told the decision makers he had the perfect candidate.
“The guy we need to hire is in Dallas,” Way said, beginning his pitch.
And then Way went all in for Ted Emrich, framing him as young up-and-comer who was working on his craft at high school games.
The decision makers listened intently before asking an obvious question. “Just how young is he?”
Way gulped, offering a guestimate in an unfamiliar soft tone. “I think he’s 22 or 23,” the voice of the Longhorns said.
Way may have known better. After all, he had been pounding the Dallas-Fort Worth high school football broadcast beat alongside Ted’s dad, Roger Emrich, when the boy was born.
Turned out the younger Emrich was only 20 and still in school at the University of North Texas. He had been studying there under maestro Bill Mercer, whose students have included the likes of Way, Dave Barnett, Mark Followill and Rich Phillips, not to mention George Dunham and Craig Miller.
In the end, talent trumped age. The decision-makers were impressed when they listened to Emrich’s audition tape, compiled from Southlake Carroll broadcasts he had started working when he was still a high school junior at Dallas Christian.
Emrich is now in his eighth season in the Texas studio, which includes men’s basketball duty. Still, he never abandoned his Friday night roots. He continues to work for Chuck Kelly’s Metro Sports Communications, which has taken him from Southlake to McKinney and landed him at Coppell High where he calls play-by-play of the games that are heard on KSKY-AM (660).
Of course, Emrich has a fulltime day job. It starts weekdays at 5:22 a.m. when he does the first of his morning sports reports on KESN-FM (103.3). Over the years he also has worked on Westwood One Sports’ national broadcasts. He delivered reports from the College World Series as well as the London and Sochi Olympics for the radio network. On Saturday, he’s been excused from the Kansas State-Longhorns game so he can make his Westwood One college football debut calling the Clemson-Miami game.
Now at the ripe old age of 28, Emrich is about to take another giant step in his career. He is in the final stages of talks with ESPN about calling college basketball play-by-play. He’s been penciled in to call 10 games, mostly in the American Athletic Conference, which includes SMU.
“A huge break,” as Emrich described it.
As luck had it, Emrich filled in for R.J. Choppy on broadcasts of the NBA Development League‘s Texas Legends last season. When Choppy, co-host of 105.3 FM The Fan’s morning show, couldn’t make it, Emrich called the games on KNXT (Ch. 49).
“The way to build a career in broadcasting is to say ‘yes’ to everything,” Emrich said, explaining his detour into television.
Looking for feedback, Emrich sent a videotape of his work to Followill, the television voice of the Mavericks.
Followill liked it. His assessment of Emrich: “Really talented.”
Believing he had nothing to lose, Emrich then sent the unsolicited tape on to ESPN. ESPN’s first response was predictable: thanks but no thanks.
But then one day Emrich answered his cellphone and heard an ESPN executive say, “I bet you didn’t expect to hear from me.”
Among the first people the son called with his ESPN news was his father Roger, who works opposite him mornings at the rival Fan and doubles as the public address announcer at Cowboys home games .
“I can’t tell you how proud I am,” father said of son, who may be the next big thing on the local sports broadcasting scene bursting with talent. “I’m speechless.”
Fortunately, you will be hearing a lot more from his in the months and years to come.
To read more visit the Dallas News where this story was originally published