Broadcasting dream now reality for Torrey Pines High grad
Arizona State product Scotty Gange wins Jim Nantz Award for top collegiate sportscaster
A three-sport athlete at Torrey Pines High, Scotty Gange didn’t have the typical sport dreams.
Instead of playing pro sports, Gange’s thoughts were on reporting games.
“My senior year in high school I found broadcasting was my passion,” Gange said. “I went to college to be a sportswriter. Once I got to school I realized broadcasting was my path.”
His college path led him to Arizona State and the college’s renowned Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which admits just 24.7 percent of applicants.
In three years, he immersed himself into broadcasting, working ASU football and baseball games, hosting football pregame events on the Jumbotron at 54,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium, working as a student reporter on ESPN telecasts and spending last summer as the reporter for the Orleans Firebirds of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.
All the work paid off recently when he was named the winner of the Jim Nantz Award as the nation’s outstanding collegiate sportscaster.
Presented by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America, the award, for which there are hundreds of applicants, recognizes the Top 20 college broadcasters as All-Americans.
Last week, Gange, who graduated from ASU in three years, started a full-time job at KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver.
“Awards can be comical,” said Drew Soicher, Gange’s mentor and a 35-year veteran of the TV business in such markets as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Denver. “People pay to enter a competition, and because they took your money, everyone gets a participation trophy.
“But the Jim Nantz Award is legit.
“I’ve been around aspiring broadcasters for three decades. Scotty is by far the most talented, most creative, most humble kid I’ve ever been around.
“He writes everything down. Never makes the same mistake twice. He’s the rare kid who is incredibly passionate on the air, can handle a camera and edit, too. He wants to be great. And Denver is an amazing market to grow.”
Gange played football, baseball and ran track at Torrey Pines, catching a 79-yard touchdown pass in a playoff game against Olympian.
“Playing sports has helped me understand the vibe of the game, the emotions of sports,” Gange said.
“Ron Gladnick (football coach at Torrey Pines) taught me a lot of lessons. He taught me how to work hard, how to work with other athletes, how to ask for help.
“Charlenne Falcis-Stevens (track coach and athletic director at Torrey Pines) had a big influence on me, too.”
A receiver in football, Gange ran track as a senior after playing baseball. He ran the hurdles and was a long and triple jumper.
“Scotty was very committed, very passionate,” Gladnick said. “He was a really good football player, but he knew he wanted go into broadcasting.
“He was a willing worker. Watching him grow and develop was amazing.”
Gange was also involved in ASB at Torrey Pines and anchored the school’s Freddie Awards, a version of ESPN’s ESPYs.
“Scotty is one of those kids who comes around once in a lifetime, a nugget kid,” Falcis-Stevens said. “He was a baseball kid who came to track as a senior and took it to a new level.
“If you give him something, he runs with it. He had to do everything for the Freddies — organize it, write the script, do the video — and he pulled it off without a hitch. He was more than willing to learn.”
Gange said he learned about himself last summer in the Cape Cod League.
“At school, I was spread a little thin,” Gange said. “In the Cape, I was able to concentrate on baseball. I did the pregame show, the postgame show, specials, updates.
“I got to develop a style and work on it.”
He described his style as “fun, cool, sharing the joy of the event.”
Gange said when watching a game, he concentrates more on the pre- and postgame shows than on the game.
“Games are like Christmas,” he said. “The pregame show is anticipation ... like Christmas Eve.”
He admires ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt “for his on-air body language” and NFL Sunday Ticket RedZone host Andrew Siciliano for “his transitions and how he handles highlights.”
“You take bits and pieces from a lot of people,” Gange said. “You see what works for you and what won’t.”
What worked for Gange was his first visit to Arizona State.
USC is the family school, and he was scheduled to visit TCU.
“The Cronkite School at ASU is incredible,” Gagne said. “When I visited, there were 20 students with cameras, running around doing things.
“The facilities at ASU are the best in the country. You can do radio, TV, photography, work in the newsroom, anchor the news, do in-game reports, do play-by-play. There were just so many avenues.
“I was able to work football games. I worked baseball games with reporters from the Phoenix papers and with people from Baseball America. I felt like a professional.”
After applying for an opening at Channel 9 and getting the job, his professional career probably will begin on the production side.
Normally, there is a banquet and ceremony for the Jim Nantz Award in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the banquet to a Skype.
“Jim said the first time he’s in Denver we’ll go to lunch,” Gange said. “That will be so cool. It will put an exclamation point on the start of my career.”
-- John Maffei is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune
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