On a crisp fall night early in their freshman year, Ron Vaccaro ’04 and Will Conroy ’04 happened upon the same flier on the bulletin board outside Yale Station.
“If you are interested in sportscasting, come to this meeting,” the WYBC sign read.
On a whim, both decided to attend the meeting. Now, almost four years later, Vaccaro and Conroy are regarded as one of the best sportscasting duos in the nation and their skills have led to their selection as broadcasters for both the ECAC Men’s Hockey Championships and the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four.
The ECAC Hockey Championships will take place in Albany March 19-20. The Frozen Four, the final rounds for the national women’s hockey tournament, is slated for March 26-28. The competition will be hosted by Yale at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.
“This is a great opportunity for Yale and these two dedicated seniors,” Steve Conn, assistant athletic and sports publicity director, said. “If Yale is not competing at these events, we still have excellent representation in Ron and Will. They have progressed each year and now form one of the top radio teams in ECAC hockey.”
Despite their current sportscasting fame, Vaccaro and Conroy have not always been radio all-stars. Vaccaro used the terms “shaky” and “horror show” to describe their first broadcast. But Senior Associate Athletics Director Wayne Dean saw their potential from the start.
“They were always very serious about it, very well-prepared,” Dean said. “This came across since day one. They worked very hard to improve, and it shows. They are more comfortable now, more insightful, more smooth. They have a truly professional approach.”
Dean, a frequent on-air guest of Vaccaro and Conroy, was so confident in their ability that he personally presented them as sportscasting candidates to the ECAC and Frozen Four committees. Both groups were immediately impressed and appointed Yale’s dynamic duo to announce the games to a national audience.
In broadcasting over 150 games together, Vaccaro and Conroy have become close friends. Their shared interests range from sports to politics and their chemistry has helped them develop an engaging and unique style.
Director of Athletics Tom Beckett is one of their biggest fans.
“Ron and Will are two of the best announcers in all of collegiate broadcasting,” Beckett said. “This ECAC appointment is supporting testimony to such a claim. Their words create a picture for their listening audience to enjoy. If I can’t be in attendance, I live the game through Ron and Will.”
Vaccaro, who also broadcasts football games, does the hockey play-by-play. He described his technique as a very rhythmic, tempo-based call that requires a high level of intensity. He emphasized the importance of pacing, a skill he learned from Connecticut broadcasting legend Dick Galiette. Vaccaro also gets advice from WFAN’s Bob Huessler, a seasoned veteran in the world of sports radio.
Conroy, a second team All-Ivy League football center, provides color commentary and classic Yale wit. Although he does not credit his style to any particular pro sportscaster, he idolizes John Madden.
“He and I are former offensive linemen, so we both definitely bring a unique outlook to the booth,” Conroy said.
So will Vaccaro and Conroy be the next Madden and Michaels?
“If they are interested in pro sportscasting, they could,” Dean said. “They are both so talented.ÊI believe that they can do whatever they put their minds to, be it politics or broadcasting. We’re going to miss them enormously when they leave.”