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Ian Eagle Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2023 6:34 pm

Ian Eagle Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 21, 2023 6:34 pm

Broadcaster for CBS Sports, TNT, TBS, and YES Network, Ian Eagle joined the show to discuss the Regional he called in Greensboro, how to balance the on-court and off-court issues with Alabama basketball, his thoughts on who the Carolina Panthers may take after trading for the #1 overall pick, and he checks in on WD's movie education.


That was Ian Eagle's call of hits Nelly Cummings in Greensboro over the weekend. And it's funny, word spread quickly about that call on social media. So after the game ended, I went up to Nelly in the locker room and he and his teammates were already on their phones enjoying that line as we now welcome Ian Eagle back on in the Triad. And Ian, just how deep is your hip-hop lyric vocabulary? It's actually deeper than most people would wouldn't necessarily anticipate. I grew up in the 80s and that's as hip-hop was really hitting in the New York scene and went to a number of Run-DMC concerts, Beastie Boys concerts, Houdini, you name it, back in the day, Sugarhill Gang.

So it translated into the 90s, into the aughts. And I do keep an eye on music, pop culture, it matters to me. And I do believe being well-rounded is important to have an entertaining broadcast and keep people interested and informed.

So you never know when these things are gonna pop up. Certainly didn't go into it with the idea that I'm gonna go there unless a moment called for it and I try to trust my instincts that that moment called for it. Yeah, Nelly Cummings appreciated that in the locker room after the game. It was great to see his reaction to it. Greensboro, so you were in Greensboro calling NCAA tournament games over the weekend. It is your broadcast partner, Jim Spinarkel, he knows that place well at Duke. He won an ACC title there, he won an ACC tournament MVP there, but what was your level of familiarity with the history of Greensboro going in and what was the highlight of your stay? Well, interesting because I look back on my own career in these moments.

You can't help but reminisce. When I was at Syracuse, my senior year in 1989, 1990, and there was a thing called the Big East ACC Challenge. That was the first year of it. Syracuse in the Big East, Duke in the ACC, they played one another in Greensboro.

I traveled down to Greensboro. My senior year was like the first big trip I made as a college broadcaster to do a Syracuse-Duke game. It was Billy McCaffery on that squad. I don't know why I remember him.

Out of all the players, that's the one that sticks out. He ended up transferring to Vanderbilt, I believe, a couple of years after that. I called the game at the Greensboro Coliseum in 1989 and got to experience what it was like to be a play-by-play announcer in an outside venue. I remember vividly flying down there, getting the hotel, getting the equipment set up, and then sleeping through the alarm when I had to get up to fly home the next day at the crack of dawn and just making the flight.

Those memories start flooding back. I'm certainly familiar with Greensboro, certainly familiar with the history. Obviously, with Spinarkel, he's got quite a highlight in his head over many, many experiences in Greensboro. We got to show some of that footage and the pictures when he had the beautiful layered 70s hair, a la Eric Estrada.

So yeah, I thought we covered all the bases. Greensboro was really a great venue. It's exactly what you're looking for in the first and second round, where you've got that swing vote, not necessarily fans of a specific team, but college basketball fans that just want to feel like they're part of it. And you could feel it inside the Coliseum. And most notably, you could feel it the first game when everybody was getting behind Kennesaw State as they tried to rally from behind. Ian Eagle with us here, CBS, Turner, Yes Network. You know who Ian Eagle is by now, Westwood One, if you've been listening to this station, especially, you'll be at another ACC venue this week for the Sweet 16 on Friday and Sunday at Louisville, the Elite Eight and the Sweet 16 this week.

That's where Alabama is. So how do you plan to, I guess, balance the basketball story with Brandon Miller with the off the court story with Brandon Miller? How difficult is that when you're discussing this in production meetings?

Well, you nailed it. We'll discuss it in a production meeting. We'll have a plan going in of how to handle it.

You have to be honest and transparent and tell the full story of what's going on with the program. You can't assume that everybody just knows everything already because they've already played a couple of rounds. We're talking about a fatal shooting in January. Someone's life was lost. So this is not something that you minimize and dismiss.

It is part of the Alabama story. But also, at some point, you do focus on what's in front of you, and that is the game and how that's developing and the bigger picture, the NCAA tournament. This team is the number one seed. They are the number one overall seed. They are stacked. They are really deep. I just finished watching their tape against Maryland and the fact that Nate Oates can just rotate in player after player.

They have an entire second unit if they need it. He mixes and matches, but he doesn't have to. He's got dudes at every single position.

It's not just Brandon Miller. This team is really talented. So it's telling that story, but also recognizing that people are watching the games for entertainment, and we're going to do our best to make sure that we strike the right balance. Nice and point of how good Alabama is.

First game of the tournament, he doesn't score a point, and Alabama still wins going away. So it's just a really good collective team. Ian Eagle with us here. And while I've got you, the Carolina Panthers might be the biggest story of the offseason. You broadcast the NFL. They traded up to get the number one pick.

We'll see who they end up taking. But their head coach is Frank Reich. And since he came from Indianapolis, you've been in some of those production meetings with Frank Reich, I'm sure.

Are there any stories that come from those? And what do you make of the Panthers jump from nine to one? Well, he's a great man. He is a terrific person to deal with in production meetings.

He's just an outstanding person in and out of the football world. I'm very happy for him that he gets another chance to be a head coach. It didn't end the way that he would have hoped in Indianapolis. Obviously, the quarterback situation is the one that they just couldn't quite figure out.

Went to the playoffs with Philip Rivers, and then they were hoping to recreate that with Matt Ryan, and they just didn't have enough. Although we had a game. Oh, man, it was Jeff Saturday's second game. They were playing Philadelphia. So they had won their first game with Saturday after Reich had been fired. And then they had a chance to win this next game against Philadelphia. And Hertz just was too much down the stretch.

He did it mostly with his legs. Philly got the win. But you thought at that point that Indy still could make something happen and be a factor in that division.

And then the wheels just fell off. And I think that was validation for how dysfunctional things were set up there. How does that affect Carolina? I think the experience that Frank has been through, obviously, his personal experience as a quarterback, working with quarterbacks, and finding what makes them tick and how to maximize what they do. I think he's put together a great staff. And now it's a matter of picking the right guy and figuring out what direction this franchise is going to go in.

They're sitting at the top with a chance to either make the pick themselves or start wheeling and dealing to try to possibly improve in other areas. But I know ownership is dedicated and wants to make this thing a winning franchise. It's just not that simple. Snapping your fingers doesn't make it happen.

It takes an infrastructure and a lot of years to turn it around. But I do think Frank Reich is a guy that can help you do that. Ian Eagle with us here, going to be in the ACC footprint, as John Swafford used to like to say, at Louisville for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. He's also going to be in Winston Salem this summer as the 2022 National Sportscaster of the Year with the NSMA. On the way out, you had a great contribution to this show and to the life of our producer, Will Dalton, when you suggested that he watch Caddyshack, which he had not seen the last time you were here. W.D. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You love that movie. That was probably one of your favorites, right?

I love the movie. It hurt my brain a little bit. Sure.

Sure. You know, just how dumb it was. But I loved how dumb it was. It was good. It was the 80s. Everybody's brains were hurt by some of these movies at that time. Ian Eagle, I'm going to try and throw a curveball here.

Do you have a non-comedy movie favorite or a couple that come to mind that potentially we could throw at young Will? W.D. needs more of a thinking man's pictures. Yes. Yes.

I think I see you want to go a little into the deeper accesses of your brain. I, I assume you've seen Shawshank Redemption, of course, right? W.D. I have.

That's been in our rotation. I'm so proud. I'm so proud he could answer a question. Yes.

Because of this segment, we can he can answer it. Seriously, truly. Look how far you've come.

It's amazing. I feel like your work is almost done here, Josh. I'm not sure that you have much more to do.

You've you've opened up his eyes and you've broadened his horizons. I I think at some point he's going to start recommending films to you. I don't know about all that. Yeah. Yeah. He is a Star Wars nerd. So I should have prefaced that. He's seen all the Star Wars about a dozen times. That's not even an exaggeration.

Hundreds of times. OK. Yeah. Yeah. Ian Eagle, thank you for what you do for for for our guy, W.D. And have a great call this week. Thanks for doing this. All right. Looking forward to it. Great to talk to you, Josh.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 23:28:40 / 2023-03-21 23:33:28 / 5

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