The Wolfpacker

September 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 35 of 95

36 ■ THE WOLFPACKER it would be good for Evans, fresh off retiring from the Canadian Football League, to give it a try. "I'm assuming there were reasons, but un- fortunately we won't ever know that from them," Evans said. "Honestly, I have no idea what the reason was." Evans can only speculate that perhaps his comfort level around microphones doing in- terviews or his public speaking preaching his testimony through his extensive involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes caught their ears. "Who knows, but I am thankful and grate- ful that they offered me and whetted my ap- petite," Evans said. Unlike Hahn and Haynes, Evans focuses less than them on preparation and more on re- action to what he sees on each play. He wants to reach the men and women who have never played football and help them understand what is happening. "I wanted to be able explain to someone possibly that had never been in a huddle, that had never been sacked, that had never thrown a pick-six, that had never known the exhilara- tion of a last-second touchdown, I tried to provide some color: What are they thinking, what are they feeling, why did that happen … just try to provide that little insight," Evans explained. He also leans on his quarterback back- ground to maintain an emotional equilibrium in the broadcast booth, but he admitted that was challenged when watching his son Dan- iel play quarterback for the Wolfpack from 2005-08. His son's first start was against Boston College, and when the Eagles had the ball with a 15-10 lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter, Hahn and Evans started reflect- ing on his son's performance in a presumed losing effort. Then NCSU got the ball back, and Daniel Evans led a game-winning drive capped by a 34-yard touchdown throw to John Dunlap with eight seconds left for a 17-15 win. After the game, the father-son duo was hooked up for a postgame interview at Hahn's suggestion. "I told him you just did something your old man never dreamed to do in your first start," Evans said. "It could be like this every week. It was a very good memory for both of us." ■ The Crew There is a humorous story from Daniel Evans' high-drama debut. ESPN2 cameras cut to a shot in the radio booth for a reaction from dad of his son's big moment. Instead it got a close-up of the crew's longtime spotter, Francis Combs. "I still have some buddies down at the YMCA that when they see me say, 'Hey Fran- cis, how are you doing?'" Evans joked. Combs and statistician Howard Baum have been working football games since 1966 and 1967, respectively. Combs provides invalu- able assistance to Hahn during games, and Evans noted that there is not a stat mentioned on the air that is not the product of Baum. David Modlin is the engineer and producer, joining the crew in 1996. "It is an understatement to say the broad- cast doesn't go out unless he does what he does," Evans noted. Collectively, the team strives for a simple goal — putting on an informative broadcast that takes listeners far more in depth with more knowledge than they can glean from a television crew that arrives a couple days before the game and then leaves town. "You want to feel like that you sounded accurate and you sounded credible," Haynes said. "If you are not accurate and people don't trust what you are saying, then you've lost them," Hahn added. It's an approach, and a team, that has worked well for almost two decades now. ■ Memories Of A Lifetime The radio crew of Gary Hahn, Tony Haynes and Johnny Evans share, in their own words, their most memorable moments broadcasting NC State foot- ball games: Tony Haynes: "I think the Gator Bowl in 2003 when Philip Rivers and NC State beat Notre Dame in a packed stadium, and just to see NC State pretty much dominate that football game. "That's something as you sat there and watched it, you thought to yourself that you might not be able to see that: To not only beat Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl but pretty much dominate them. "The whole atmosphere around that bowl game is something I won't forget. I think that was a high point for NC State football." Gary Hahn (who cited the Gator Bowl as his No. 1, too): "No. 2 would be in '91 against Duke, and it was one of those old-fashioned Duke-State shootouts we used to have. We had just scored and there were only a few seconds left on the clock and we had to kick off. "We had a slim lead [32-31]. … We kicked off to this kid Brad Breedlove, who was a real good athlete for Duke at the time. … He starts off to the right, then he weaves back to the left, everybody is missing him, nobody can get him, he weaves back the other way. Finally, he gets to the point where only one man can [tackle] him, that's the kicker. "We got this little bitty kicker who is smaller than me. His name is Mark Fowble. He is trying to get an angle on this guy, and fortunately he got an angle on him and he checked him out of bounds at around the State 14-yard line. The clock had already gone to zero. There was no more time left." Johnny Evans: "When Daniel [Evans] had his first start of his career on a nationally broadcast game on a Saturday night against Boston College. "Boston College had the ball and had the lead and it looked like the game was over, and Gary said what kind of grade do you give your son in his first start … and I gave him a C. I tried to explain he did some nice things, but he made some mistakes and bottom line is it doesn't look like they are going to win. Then all of the sudden they get the ball back and the unbelievable toss and catch to John Dunlap, and the place erupts. "It probably wasn't one of the all-time big games in NC State history, but because of the personal connection with my son hav - ing his first start that will be a moment I will never forget." Evans was an All-American punter and start- ing quarterback at NC State but never con- sidered broadcasting before joining the crew. PHOTO COURTESY TONY HAYNES David Modlin (far left) joined the team in 1996. Francis Combs (middle) and Howard Baum (right) have been there since the 1960s. PHOTO COURTESY TONY HAYNES

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