ESPN sportscaster brings lessons from the booth to Virginia Tech classrooms

Published: Oct. 9, 2018 at 3:52 PM EDT
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For almost 30 years, we heard his voice yell, "Touchdown Tech!" over the airwaves. Now Bill Roth has a different play-by-play to call as he brings aspiring broadcasters lessons from beyond the classroom.

"Whenever there's a great play, you want to nail the moment. You want to give the play its due," Roth said speaking about his love for calling football games for thousands of fans.

For 27 years, that's exactly what he did as the Voice of the Hokies.

"I'd done team-specific games on radio for all those years, but it's so much different doing national games on television cause number one, it's television."

It's not only television, it's arguably the biggest television network in sports: ESPN.

He relies on his past experience with Virginia Tech and UCLA to propel him forward.

"Doing games at Tech and UCLA all those years, bring that to ESPN, I think it's been a really good foundation for me as we move forward in this next chapter."

A chapter that includes Roth trading the football field for a classroom during the week.

"It's exciting!" He said. "I'm with college kids during the week. I'm around college athletes from different schools on the weekend and I'm at the Atlanta airport every Sunday."

Virginia Tech's "Professor of Practice" model is also resonating with students.

"He's going out and he's calling games on the weekends and then he can apply that stuff and teach us the same stuff that he's learned on a daily basis," Tech junior Cory Van Dyke said.

"It's a lot of fun," Chris Finch, a senior at Tech, added. "He makes the class more casual which is cool. It's not really lecture based. We do a lot of hands on projects and activities."

Virginia Tech's Sports Media and Analytics will be a stand alone major next year and Bill Roth hopes to inspire as many students as he can along the way.

"I'm having more fun now than ever," he said. "I love doing these games on TV. I love being able to travel around the country and I want to share that with [the students]. I want to inspire them because I think a lot of them would love to do that one day too."