Last Sunday, the distinguishable, endlessly-storytelling presence of Vin Scully stepped away, as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, after 67 years. Meanwhile, in a Milwaukee radio booth, it is only a matter of time before Bob “Mr. Baseball” Uecker ends his tenure as the voice of the Brewers. These two men know that, especially when in a radio booth, one cannot be dry, repetitive and flinching. Someone else who knows this is the new voice for the UW-Milwaukee Men’s basketball team, Scott Warras.
Stressing the importance of vocabulary has allowed Warras to become pretty flexible in his 13-plus years as a broadcaster, having called football, baseball and basketball at both the collegiate and high school level. Play-by-play isn’t the only thing he does, however, as he can be caught working for Charlie Sykes’ weekday radio program on 620 WTMJ and for Time Warner Cable Sports 32.
In 1996, Warras, who was a freshman writer for his high school paper, gained inspiration when he met Uecker’s then-boothmate, Jim Powell, who accepted him and a friend to come to his office for an interview. Warras was compelled by this and hasn’t looked back, even impassioning his own big moments.
Last year, he was honored with the NCAA’s “Call of the Week,” after verbally capturing UWM’s Sierra Ford-Washington’s go-ahead basket with 6.7 seconds left in a game last February. He says, that the honor was nice, but didn’t “validate” his status as a broadcaster.
“On the Sierra call…the credit goes to the player, otherwise it doesn’t happen,” he says. “Period.”
Every month or so, Warras will ask his radio station for a particular game’s recording, as he clamps down on his mistakes.
Being a craftsman of the language and investor in “the moment,” Warras recognizes the beauty in being able to maintain his composure, as one announcer’s advice is always in his back pocket: “Poise will give you presence.”
Looking forward to the men’s season, Warras isn’t fazed by the fact the team lost its top-five leading scorers, or by the fact that they have a rookie head coach in LaVall Jordan. He says that this situation isn’t any different than when any given sports franchise undergoes changes in personnel.
The men’s team looks to improve upon last season’s 20-13 record, in which the team narrowly missed the NIT tournament.
This season will mark his 11th as the voice of Panthers basketball, having called women’s games for the last decade.
Catch Scott Warras calling the 7:00 p.m. game on Nov. 11 against the Milwaukee School of Engineering on 1130AM WISN.