The voice of UNCW athletics
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 15:05
Imagine the thrill on a little boy’s face as he can’t wait to release breaking sports news to his father. Imagine the thrill of calling a college basketball game for the first time. If you are Mike Vaccaro, these are not imaginations; they are a dreamlike reality.
Vaccaro is the radio personality for Seahawk athletic events, calling games for the many sports on campus. Although Vaccaro is listed as the Assistant Director of Sports Marketing, he is widely known as “the voice of the Seahawks.”
Vaccaro is a Hazleton, Pennsylvania native who attended Syracuse University. At an early age, Vaccaro knew that he wanted to get involved with a career in sports.
“My parents always had such a love for sports,” said Vaccaro. “I picked up on this love, went to school for sports broadcasting, and was also the manager for the Syracuse football team for four years.”
Syracuse appealed to Vaccaro because of its reputation as having the best sports broadcasting program in the country, producing such broadcasters as Bob Costas, Marv Albert and Mike Tirico.
Immediately after graduating in 1995, Vaccaro decided he needed to get out of the cold weather. This led him to North Carolina. Following working at a radio station in Wallace, N. C., and a few small network affiliates in Wilmington, Vaccaro landed his first college sports broadcasting job at Campbell University in 1998.
Vaccaro led a successful career at Campbell until 2004, when he decided it was time to move to back to Wilmington, where he would become the “voice of the Seahawks.” Already familiar with the area, Vaccaro was even more persuaded to return to Wilmington after hearing of UNCW’s recent basketball successes.
“I wanted to be the one describing all of the close games that I was always reading about,” Vaccaro said.
One of Vaccaro’s favorite facets of his career is the unknown aspect within it. Calling the game live, he recognizes anything can happen at any given time. However, Vaccaro’s favorite memory of announcing UNCW sports is not a particular play call or anything along those lines, but rather the whole game experience itself.
“In 2006, I called the UNCW men’s basketball and baseball CAA championship games,” he said. “It’s my hope to always be involved with championship teams.”
Vaccaro also uses the radio portion of his job to help encourage promotional campaigns such as Team Teal. One of his goals is to make the sports-going experience rewarding for students that may not follow the school’s teams as closer as others. Another goal Vaccaro has concerning students is to eventually bring a sports broadcasting class to the Communication Studies Department.
Outside of his job, Vaccaro is quite the fun-loving family man, spending as much time with his son, Myles as possible. In fact, he notes that his wife Bridget probably watches SportsCenter more often than he does.
“When I’m not working, I spend a lot of time going down slides and going through tunnels,” he said. “However, one day, my dream is to have my son announcing a game alongside of me.”