Ivy Leaf - Fall 2004

Spotlight on Jason Pagliaro


Some people live their entire lives without ever pursuing their dream job. Not so, for Penn State Altoona student Jason Pagliaro. Pagliaro, a sophomore, pursued his dreams this past summer when he auditioned for a stint on ESPN as a SportsCenter host during its "Dream Job" competition.

As someone who's known from a very young age what he wants to be when he grows up, Pagliaro jumped at the chance to go to California to spend a week at Sportscasters Camps of America when Doug Nemanic, instructor in communications, first told him about it.

"My dad and I always had a knack for talking about sports and, when I was younger, I used to grab the sports scores out of the newspaper and narrate them," Pagliaro says. "I want to be the guy who's calling the plays. Hopefully, I'll get to do that for one of the professional sports teams someday. When I learned about the camp, I had to go. I had to see if I was just hanging onto a dream, or if this is something I really can do!"

"I wanted Jason to succeed at his sports 'boot camp' and ESPN tryouts, so I helped him prepare the best I could," says Bob Trumpbour, assistant professor of communications at Penn State Altoona. "I quizzed him about sports knowledge, loaned him some media books to read on the plane, and gave him tips that I thought might help. He did a nice job with the experience and just may have a future in the industry."

Pagliaro worked with Nemanic and Trumpbour to arrange the logistics of getting three college credits for the experience and to prepare for the trip. Then Pagliaro was on his way to eating, breathing and sleeping the life of a play-by-play broadcaster for a week at the camp in Long Beach, California.

The camp, now in its 20th year of operation, was founded and is operated by two professionals in the play-by-play industry: Roy Englebrecht, the promoter for boxer Oscar De La Hoy, and Bob Miller, the play-by-play voice of the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings.

Mornings at the camp consisted of classroom instruction from such industry professionals as Brian Wheeler, the play-by-play voice of the Portland Trailblazers, and Bill Roth, the voice of Virginia Tech football, among others. Following the classroom instruction, each afternoon allowed the students to put into practice what they had just learned.

"We would be taken to sporting events in different-sized venues – from the NBA summer pro-league games with a small crowd, to a sold-out Anaheim Angels game – and we would conduct actual play-by-play at each of the events, which gave me experience working in many different venues."

Following the week of camp, Pagliaro's sportscasting experience culminated in a "Dream Job" competition for ESPN's Sports Center, which tested his knowledge of sports trivia and industry knowledge, debate, and on-air presence. Out of his group of 75, Pagliaro ranked at the top for sports knowledge. And, although he didn't win the dream job competition, his hopes aren't shattered.

"The ESPN folks took all of my information with a promise to call me back for the Dream Job3 competition, which is specifically for play-by-play positions. That's right up my alley!"

Now that he's back from his week in California and finishing his last two years of coursework at Penn State Altoona, he still can't believe his experience.

"Bob [Trumpbour] and Doug [Nemanic] really encouraged me to do this, realizing what a benefit it would be to me. This camp was my 'make-or-break-it' and it proved to me that I can do it and that I hopefully one day will!"