Meet Eric Scholl, the voice behind Yale basketball
Eric Scholl, the lead public address announcer for Yale women’s and men’s basketball over the past two seasons, discusses his path to Yale, favorite game and the importance of impartiality during postseason play.
Courtesy of muscosportsphotos.com
Eric Scholl is the lead public address announcer for Yale women’s and men’s basketball. Since his first announcing season at Yale during the 2018-19 season, he has left quite the impression.
About 10 years ago, when his son’s football team needed a PA announcer for their games, Scholl stepped up to the challenge. Following many positive reviews, he would fill the same position for a few of his son’s basketball games in 2016. In the fall of 2018, his true introduction to the PA world would come upon connecting with Dave Boland, founder of Timing is Everything, or TIE, and retired U.S. army general. Boland’s organization provides personnel staff to the scorer’s table at high school, collegiate and professional sporting events. Yale utilizes TIE’s network, which includes about 108 game staff currently in circulation, to fill its staffing needs.
“At the time I was out of work, and someone had mentioned the organization to me,” Scholl said. “I gave a gentleman by the name of Dave Boland a ring and explained who I was, what I was looking to do and what I had heard to try to help out with the scores table.”
Boland said that after an adult interested in joining the scorer’s table — scorebook, game clock, shot clock, scoreboard and video replay — reaches out or is recruited, TIE offers a curriculum for them over the summer. Prior to a school season, they spectate their prospective role and then ultimately take on official responsibilities.
Scholl first met Boland at a local college basketball game to witness TIE table operations, landing him a future role as a video replay staffer. It was not long, though, before he was asked to fill in as the PA announcer for Sacred Heart University’s senior day football game.
“Eric took off like a bird,” Boland said. “Just so successful, so professional, so capable, so organized. And he was available. He understood the game, he had a skill set. And he was very much able to do it.”
In the weeks following, Boland alerted Scholl of Yale’s open PA announcer position for women’s and men’s basketball. Scholl then met with Yale Athletics’ Assistant Director of Strategic Communications Tim Bennett to finalize the hire. Since then, Bennett said, in an email to the News, that he helps ensure that Scholl has the scripts and marketing reads prior to games.
Scholl and Boland emphasized the importance of not overdoing one’s role as a PA announcer, for they are not the primary entertainment. Bennett noted that Scholl’s “enthusiastic style helps fire up with the crowd without being over the top.”
“I get in the moment of the play but have variety to it,” Scholl said. “Azar Swain [’22] may hit a deep three, and I’ll be very quick about it like, ‘Azar! For three!’ Someone else may come along and hit a deep three and you expand out that three pointer, you know, ‘for three.’ It just kind of keeps the crowd into it and, you know, keeping it a little different makes it more fun for everybody.”
Scholl told the News that his most exciting game to announce was the men’s basketball 2019 Ivy League Championship between Yale and Harvard. He said that, because the Crimson had swept the Blue and White in the regular season, there was plenty of hype coming into the game with Yale as the second seed. He described that watching both teams and coaches perform at a championship level as “electric.”
Despite having a paid position, Scholl appreciates the work he does for Yale Athletics for its entertainment value.
“It’s for the fun of it really,” Scholl said. “Between the men’s program at Yale and women’s program, they’re just phenomenal programs. I’m a basketball junkie so, sitting in essence front row center court almost and being able to watch the players and how they do things via strategy [is great.]”
Despite being a huge fan of Yale basketball, Scholl infomed the News of the importance of impartiality in playoff games. While he could cheer during a regular season game when women’s basketball forward Ellen Margaret Andrews ’21 hit a three-pointer to beat Harvard on senior night last year, playoff games mean showing positive energy for both teams.
“If you go too vanilla, then you can ruin the atmosphere for the fans,” Scholl wrote in an email to the News. “No matter if it’s your biggest rival or not, enjoy the game and present it that way … the game is not about the PA guy, but you can’t have a negative effect on the game either.”
Scholl has also worked on film with Division II and III-level basketball teams.
Zach Morris | firstname.lastname@example.org