Written by R.L. Bynum
A busy schedule for the versatile Krause with fall sports shifting to spring
When traditional fall sports either stretched into or were moved to spring, few broadcasters have been more versatile and busier than Matt Krause.
During one three-city, three-day, four-sport stretch, he worked women’s basketball, field hockey, soccer and football games, and that schedule was changed on the fly after North Carolina lost its first-round ACC women’s tournament game. Instead of one basketball game the next day had the Tar Heels won, he did a field hockey game AND a soccer match.
Krause, 26, is one of many freelance broadcasters who are scrambling from sport to sport after a pandemic-shuffled schedule meant springtime FCS football, field hockey, volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer games in addition to the traditional spring sports.
Few have the diversity of assignments of Krause, who just completed his third season in his main gig as the radio voice of Carolina women’s basketball. He’s in his fourth season as a color analyst and host on Elon football broadcasts, working play-by-play announcer Taylor Durham.
“What I love about college sports is you’re dealing with different groups of people, even in the course of the same season, when you’re calling multiple sports,” said Krause, a Durham resident. “The personalities that you deal with in, say, women’s basketball are so different than football, and it’s all equally as rewarding to be able to experience all those different types of people. It keeps things fresh and keeps things interesting.”
Last weekend, the 2015 Elon broadcast journalism graduate went from a Friday ACC Network Extra call of the Duke-Pittsburgh men’s soccer in Durham to a Saturday radio broadcast of the Elon-William & Mary football game from Williamsburg, Va., to a Sunday ACCNE broadcast of UNC-Notre Dame volleyball from Chapel Hill to a Monday remote broadcast of the UNC-Alabama women’s basketball game from a studio on the UNC campus.
By April 23, he will have called 10 sports since mid-February (assuming no cancellations/postponements): football, baseball, softball, wrestling, women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball and women’s lacrosse.
Krause says that he doesn’t enjoy one sport any more than another.
“I honestly genuinely have things that I like about every single sport that I call, and never want to show up with the attitude of, ‘Oh, this isn’t my favorite sport,’ ” Krause said. “I really enjoy literally everything on my schedule. I love the art of radio. Love the challenge and teamwork required to do TV at a high level. That is something that you don’t get on radio, is that teamwork aspect. And then a lot of the sports that I call, for one reason or another, aren’t as popular to the casual sports fan. But that doesn’t mean that you can just disservice the athletes and coaches by giving it that sort of a treatment.”
If not for four COVID-19 cancellations/postponements, he would have worked 20 games in March in addition to hosting two episodes of the “Courtney Banghart Show” on the radio. Because of broadcast preparation, he’s had one day off this month.
With all of the nuggets and interesting stories that Krause slips into game broadcasts, it’s obvious that he prepares well. But his crazy schedule creates challenges.
“Preparation absolutely is the hardest thing,” said Krause, who called the CAA women’s basketball tournament at Elon on video streaming broadcasts, of the busy schedule. “You really have to compartmentalize and have to be willing to go into a broadcast with a little less of a comfort level than is ideal. In an ideal world, if you’ve got, say, a field hockey game, you’re doing two weeks of prep and looking at all these backstories on various players and all that sort of thing.”
He mentions something that Wes Durham, Taylor’s brother, has told young broadcasters: It’s an open-book test but you aren’t going to succeed if you don’t memorize any information.
“The best way to go about doing it is to know where to find the information, so you can get it on the fly,” Krause said. “So, going into it with perhaps a little bit less of a comfort level. It doesn’t mean I’m less prepped. There hasn’t been the chance to kind of double-check everything and make sure everything is committed to memory.”
Like many broadcasters in minor league baseball and college sports other than football or men’s basketball, he’s the only voice on UNC’s women’s basketball broadcasts (other than network updates). At other levels, there also is an analyst to converse with or play off of on a two-person crew.
The previous play-by-play voice of UNC women’s basketball, Walter Storholt, worked with an analyst, but Krause does the Tar Heels games solo. Here is audio of his call of the final seconds when UNC upset N.C. State in February.
He admits that it’s a challenge.
“You can be tempted to just give descriptions at all times because you’re a play-by-play person,” Krause said. “But what I’ve found is, after the conclusion of especially a play that results in a made bucket, it’s good to give a nugget, or a stat or a trend — rather than diving right into action, filling the space that a color analyst would fill — just with your own bit of knowledge, not necessarily basketball analysis.”
Sometimes it’s X’s and O’s or just relaying knowledge about the program.
“So, there’s a little bit of that, a lot of stats and a lot of backstories,” Krause said. “But I definitely like to fill that time as if a color analyst was there. It’s just all about finding your own rhythm and every person that works solo does it differently. There’s a lot of people who do it solo in the NBA, so it’s not a foreign art. But I think that basketball and baseball and hockey on radio can be done solo.”
With, as Krause says, “no athletic talent” and “constantly yammering about various sports,” he already knew his preferred career path when he was in third grade growing up in Alexandria, Va. Before his freshman year in high school, he did streaming play-by-play for a college summer baseball team in northern Virginia.
“So, it was not like, ‘Oh, I’m going to play high school sports and figure this out later.’ It was, ‘I’m going to get started on this right here and right now,’ ” he said.
It was always going to be play-by-play or writing. He was never interested in being a sportscaster on a television station.
Krause started doing public-address announcing for football, men’s basketball and baseball his freshman year in high school. He called Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League games on an internet radio stream in 2011 and 2012, as well as filling in 2010.
He decided to attend Elon because he saw the school as having the best balance between a strong communications classroom experience and the chance to get on the air quickly. He had been visiting grandparents in Cary for years, so he was familiar with North Carolina. His parents have since retired and moved to North Carolina.
Krause’s college choice paid off quickly in October 2012, his freshman year, on the desire to get on the air. But neither the logistics or the conditions were ideal for his first assignment.
He called an 0–0 double-overtime Elon-Duke men’s soccer match for the student radio station in 35-degree weather with winds associated with Superstorm Sandy. He was 20 feet up a hill behind one of the goals because that’s where a power outlet was available.
“I don’t remember being nervous,” Krause said, remembering that game and the first Ripken game in 2010. “I mean, obviously, the tapes for [the Ripken] game and the soccer — bad. It’s not good at all. But just, more than anything, excited to try and go on this adventure.”
He was assistant sports editor for Elon’s student newspaper, The Pendulum, for three semesters and did some stringing for the Times-News of Burlington while at Elon.
“I definitely built skills in that area. I just always had a passion for play by play more so than writing,” says Krause, who writes a weekly “Carmichael Comments” column on goheels.com during basketball season.
He branched out on broadcasting Elon athletics, doing play-by-play for video webcasts for men’s basketball and non-revenue sports. He was co-lead play-by-play voice for baseball in 2015 and was lead play-by-play voice for women’s basketball.
His first big play-by-play opportunity outside of Elon started the summer before his senior year, with the first of four seasons calling games for the Appalachian League’s Burlington Royals. In the heat of the summer in cramped press boxes, he called baseball games and had plenty of other duties over those long seasons.
Krause has followed a similar path to the late Stephen Gates. The UNC graduate, who died in a 2003 hit-and-run incident on I-85 at age 27, worked Appy League games in Burlington and called UNC women’s basketball games.
Krause loves baseball, but that experience led him to decide that the grind of a baseball season wasn’t something he wanted to continue, at least on the minor-league level.
“I’m grateful for my time there, but it taught me that I didn’t want to do pro baseball,” Krause said. “I just didn’t want to do that minor-league grind and prioritize that. It’s just much more rewarding to do the college side.”
Before getting the UNC women’s basketball job in October 2019, he was a host and producer for Learfield IMG College Audio for nearly three years and, since February 2019, has worked numerous broadcasts for ACC Network Extra. He fills in as host on the Tar Heel Sports Network when football and men’s basketball schedules conflict.
He, of course, aspires to do network television work or college sports for ESPN and ACC Network. But radio holds a special place with him from the time as a kid listening to Washington Nationals and Washington Redskins games on the radio.
“I would love the opportunity to call the NCAA tournament for Westwood One, for example,” Krause said. “I love the art of radio, and definitely want that to remain a part of my career, if at all possible, going forward. I would be open to a football/men’s basketball radio job at another school. But I’m also a big believer that the name on the front jersey carries more weight than the gender of the athlete playing it. So, I view the Carolina women’s basketball gig as pretty prestigious compared to, say, a mid-to-low major FCS men’s basketball/football job.”
For the rest of the spring, on any given day, you’re likely to hear Krause on the call of a game. At least he won’t be freezing on the sideline while doing it.
NCAA media experience different for women’s tournament
There was plenty of publicity about the differences between the player experience for women’s players vs. men’s players in the NCAA tournaments, much of that focused on the disparity in the weight room facilities and swag bags. In addition, the concerns of mothers who are coaches didn’t seem to matter (see story on list at the bottom of this column).
There also was a disparity for the media covering those events.
At the men’s tournament, the NCAA made plenty of photos available for each game and provided transcripts of the coaches’ press conferences. The NCAA didn’t provide photos for most first-round games of the women’s tournament before there was an adjustment after it originally said photos would only be available starting with the regional semifinals. Transcripts weren’t available for the first two rounds.
The ACC provided transcripts from the postgame press conferences for coaches and players during its men’s and women’s league tournaments.
All postgame press conferences were, of course, done via Zoom. In past seasons, usually at least two players appeared at on-site press conferences and reporters could enter the dressing rooms to talk to additional players.
But both tournaments only allowed one player for each team to speak to the media at the official postgame press conferences. This policy came after multiple players were available at most postgame Zoom press conferences by individual schools conducted during the regular season.
Garrison Brooks was the player who participated in the official NCAA press conference after UNC’s loss to Wisconsin. Carolina sports information solicited media questions for other players and sent out quotes from those players.
Pandemic measures led McClatchy to not run photos from Duke home games
Duke didn’t allow reporters and photojournalists in Cameron Indoor Stadium for home men’s basketball games (other than game broadcasters) as part of the school’s pandemic measures.
Although Duke beat writer Steve Wiseman covered those games remotely, you didn’t see photos from those games in The News & Observer, The Herald-Sun or The Charlotte Observer this season.
During this pandemic season, all media outlets had access to pool photos uploaded to folders the ACC set up on Box, a cloud content management and file-sharing service.
N&O photojournalists provided a lot of those photos for men’s games, with Robert Willett sharing photos from UNC games and Ethan Hyman sharing images from N.C. State games. For Wake Forest men’s games, there were photos from Andrew Dye or Walt Unks of the Winston-Salem Journal.
At Duke, though, the pool photos were from school photographers Nat LeDonne or Reagan Lunn.
Because independent pool photography wasn’t available and Duke had editorial oversight over the photos, McClatchy regional sports editor Matt Stephens decided not to use the images. Other newspapers, including the News & Record of Greensboro and the Winston-Salem Journal, used those Duke photos.
There was briefly a similar dispute before the 2020 NASCAR season resumed last summer before officials agreed to allow independent photographers to shoot photos at races.
Although reporters could cover UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest home games on-site, press seats were extremely limited.
— Fox Sports Carolinas and Fox Sports Tennessee will become Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast on Wednesday when Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s licensing agreement with Fox expires. The programming and channel numbers aren’t expected to change. The regional sports networks haven’t been on the Dish Network menu since August 2019, although MASN has aired ACC games produced for RSNs. The RSNs also aren’t offered on Sling TV, Fubo TV, Hulu or YouTube TV.
— Pat James, a 2016 UNC journalism graduate who was laid off as a writer for UNC athletics in August, will cover Carolina baseball on a Substack page he launched this week called Boshamer Bulletin. He expects to offer game coverage, features, notebooks and will soon launch the podcast “Bosh to the Bigs.” James is a social media strategist for Durham Academy.
— Sam Gore, a Fayetteville native, 1989 UNC journalism graduate and former radio voice of UNCW athletics, has been a “stand-by” play-by-play announcer for ESPN’s NCAA women’s tournament coverage, reports The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch. Gore can join a game within 60 seconds from his Orlando home in case the play-by-play system goes down for an announcer calling a game from home. That happened during the SEC men’s tournament.
— “The Last Dance,” the documentary revolving around Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls that was produced by UNC graduate John Dahl, earned the Image Award for Outstanding Documentary at the NAACP Image Awards.
North Carolina-related sports stories of note
In The Athletic, Brendan Marks and CJ Moore wrote a fascinating story that documents how Roy Williams ended up taking the Kansas job in 1988.
Brian Hamilton wrote ahead of the NCAA tournament in The Athletic about UNCG’s Isaiah Miller.
In USA Today, Lindsay Schnell wrote about how the NCAA didn’t show it cares about the plight of coaches who also are moms by limiting the total number of people travelling with a team to 34. This created challenges for N.C. State women’s associate head coach Lindsay Edmonds, who has two older daughters, 6 and 3, in addition to a 6-month-old daughter she’s still nursing. Two senior managers had to stay behind in Raleigh.
The pandemic changed the recruiting path for many high school players. In the Winston-Salem Journal, John Dell wrote about Reynolds High quarterback Caden Davis, who ended up committing to Fayetteville State. Davis’ father said that if not for the ability of college seniors to return for another season, he thinks his son may have been able to play for a Division I school.
In The N&O, Luke DeCock wrote about the early challenges Jim Phillips, the ACC’s new commissioner, has faced, including how to cut the significant revenue gap between the ACC and other Power 5 conferences.
On WRALSportsfan.com, Lauren Brownlow wrote about the odd experience of covering an ACC tournament during the pandemic. It just wasn’t the same Greensboro experience.
In The N&O, Macy Meyer wrote about how the Apex High School boys soccer team has dealt with the death of its coach six months ago as the team works its way through the spring season.