New Voice For Louisville Football TV

By Paul Sykes

A welcome change in the WHAS-TV broadcast booth for University of Louisville football: Morning radio talk show host and former University of Kentucky sideline reporter Drew Deener has replaced Ari Wolfe as the face of Cardinal football and hoops.

The move, while rather surprising, makes sense on several fronts. Deener has a good, balanced delivery and is not prone to the dramatic swings that some announcers display during broadcasts. He’ll pair well with the loquacious Bob Valvano during basketball season. Doug James, who will pair up with Deener for football broadcasts, has a strong knowledge of the game and should be able to carry Deener while he gets his feet wet.

Deener’s pairing with former coach John L. Smith last year on the Early Birds radio show on 790 WKRD proved that although Deener has strong UK roots, he could also be an informative and even positive mouthpiece about the Cardinal program.

Deener still heads up the Early Birds each morning and is expected to continue in that role in addition to the new duties.

Wolfe, who came to Louisville from Philadelphia in 2005, was a competent and informative face for Cardinal sports while here but never really seemed to become a big fan favorite with Cardinal sports television viewers.

The fact that Rick Pitino used radio funnyman Terry Meiners instead of Wolfe for his weekly show might suggest that although he performed his play-by-play tasks well, his ability to ad lib and interact with coaches was suspect. This theory could also be amplified by the use of veteran broadcaster Paul Rogers to host the weekly Steve Kragthorpe television show.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

7 thoughts on “New Voice For Louisville Football TV

  • July 10, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Why would WHAS hire a UK guy to be our play-by-play guy. I realize that Paul Rogers was a UK alum but anyone who has lived in Central Kentucky and has heard the filth spread by Deener and that lard Chris Cross knows that Deener will not be professional in play-by-play.

    Why not a UL guy like Ragone or someone, anyone else?

    • July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am

      Deener is objective and fair but you have a point about the UK connections.

  • July 10, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Just like anyone else, Deener wants to advance in his career. If it involves switching loyalties or appearing to switch loyalties on the surface to further a cause or career (see the definition of “Petrino” in the dictionary) than more likely than not, it’s gonna happen. Still, they’re going to have fun with this one over at Cats Pause and the other UK sites.

    At least Deener has toned down the Lexington rhetoric quite a bit since being heard on WHAS radio. Has he seen the light? Not likely. Has he seen the money? Definitely.

  • July 10, 2009 at 11:14 am

    This is probably better than having Lachlan getting the job. Would really be bad to have a horrible football team and a horrible guy up in the press box describing the game.

  • July 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Reminds me of Washington & Lee vs. UVa. Seems two W&L grads became the dean of students and dean of admissions at UVa. There was a picture in the W&L alumni mag of their cars in assigned parking spaces, each with a bumper sticker saying “W&L–THE university of Virginia.” Old rivalries die hard. But I will give Deener every chance.

  • July 11, 2009 at 8:33 am

    As will I, CB. I’m old enough to remember the days of Dave and Don on WDRB. All Deener needs to do is provide an account of what’s happening on the court or field. Valvano and James are well qualified to fill in the gaps. And, if it wasn’t for that annoying delay between radio and TV action, I doubt I’d hear him at all.

    • July 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm

      I’m pretty sure Ari went to work for Fox’s Big Ten Network. He is a Wisconsin grad and native. Probably an offer he couldn’t refuse. I thought Ari was very credible and seemed to genuinely like UofL. I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to say that about Deener. Atleast not the “genuinely likes UofL” part.

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