Moments before Duke and Notre Dame tip off in the ACC Basketball Championship in March, Bill Rosinski ’75 took a moment to make sure he was ready.
Bill doesn’t miss a beat as he does the ESPN radio broadcast from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Working alongside color analyst Bob Valvano, the veteran play-by-play announcer gets the final call on Duke’s 20th ACC tournament championship.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was 7,” says Bill, who grew up in Tonawanda, New York. “I remember in the early 1960s, my dad bought a reel-to-reel recorder. I’d take that thing and pretend to be calling a game.”
More than 40 years after he graduated from Marietta College with a degree in Radio and Television, Bill is still considered one of the best play-by-play guys in the business.
“He has emerged as our No. 1 college football play-by-play guy,” says ESPN’s Executive Producer John Martin. “He’s recognized in the industry for being passionate, professional and talented. He’s also multitalented, which means he can do basketball, golf or the NBA. I don’t think we’ve had him do baseball, but I’m sure he could.”
Bill joined ESPN Radio in July 2009 as the play-by-play commentator for college football and basketball broadcasts. During the same year, he started calling golf for the PGA Tour Radio Network. This was after an already illustrious broadcast career that had included stops as the Voice of the Atlanta Falcons (1992-94) and the Voice of the Carolina Panthers (1995-2004), as well as calling NFL and college basketball games for Westwood One Radio (2005-09).
“I always wanted to do play-by-play for a team,” Bill says. “I found out about the Falcons and I was able to get that job. Then the team changed radio stations and someone contacted me about the Carolina Panthers. I sent out some feelers and became the Voice of the Panthers for 10 years.”
His time with Carolina landed him his first Super Bowl as a play-by-play announcer in 2004. “That’s easily at the top of my list of best career moments,” he says. “The week went by so quickly and it was a great game, even though the Panthers lost.”
Bill and his wife, Jane Kading Rosinski ’75, still reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he says Panthers fans still remember the call he made when Carolina defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship.
“I said, ‘Yes, Charlotte, there is a Super Bowl and we’re in it,’ ” Bill says.
Bill and Jane, who is his statistician at games and who drives the golf cart when Bill’s covering a PGA event, have traveled the world because of his job. They have two adult sons — Greg and Bobby — and both agree that not having a typical 9-to-5 job has suited them well. Bobby has even followed in his father’s footsteps and has a radio show on an ESPN affiliate in Charlotte.
“It has been a great opportunity for us,” Jane says. “I love sports. It keeps me totally involved in the game and I enjoy the people.”
While they knew each other as classmates at Marietta, they didn’t start dating until after college. Bill’s first professional job with was WMOA-AM 1490 in Marietta, while Jane was teaching and coaching at Waterford High School.
“Once we got married, we were going to (Ohio Athletic Conference) games and I helped him keep the stats,” Jane says. “When he went to the Falcons, I started doing stats for all of the home games. It’s a great way for us to spend time together.”
ESPN hired her part-time to help Bill at games, and they have worked together at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the British Open at St. Andrews’ Royal Troon. Still, some of Bill’s fondest memories are from the time he spent at Marietta.
“I remember talking with (former basketball coach) Phil Roach after a game and using it on WMOA,” he says. “The thing that was great about Marietta back in those days is you got a chance to do everything.”
As a freshman, Bill was running a camera for the student TV station and was a DJ on the student radio station.
“If you go to a Syracuse or another major school, you might be lucky to do that when you’re a senior,” he says. “I was able to experience and try things in the business at a young age — to find out if this is really going to be my career. Marietta was great.”
- Tom Perry