Basketball Star to Color Commentator: Steve Eggink Still Wears the Marist Red

Steve Eggink is one of the greats in Marist men’s basketball history. The school’s current all-time leader in free throw percentage has spent his whole life around the game of basketball. Eggink has proven himself to be a man of many talents, never shying away from taking on a new challenge. But one thing has remained constant throughout his life: Marist.

It’s not only Eggink’s 40-year relationship with the college as an adult that makes that statement true. He also attended Marist Catholic High School in Eugene, Oregon.

At first, Eggink had committed to playing college basketball closer to home at Washington State University. But when that fell through, Eggink decided Marist College was the place for him.

A knee injury only allowed  Eggink to play in six games his freshman year, but a bounceback sophomore season helped him gain needed experience. Between his sophomore and junior year, Eggink sustained a back injury during a pickup game that forced him to redshirt the upcoming season.

Eggink would return ready to establish himself as one of the best shooters in program history. He put up 11.5 points per game and a free-throw percentage of 85.7 in the 1983-84 season.

His final season at Marist is when it all came together. Eggink led the team in scoring that year with 15.3 points per game, shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 92 percent from the free-throw line – making him the third-best free-throw shooter in the country. Also on that team was the future NBA second overall draft pick, Rik Smits.

The 1985 team won the first regular-season conference championship in school history. However, they fell just shy of the NCAA tournament, losing to Loyola University Maryland in the conference tournament.

“We got beat on a ¾ court bank shot in double OT to lose by one point. It’s 2022, but I still remember that vividly,” said Eggink.

Eggink ended his Marist playing career with 996 points. But someone who is considered one of the best shooters in Marist basketball history also played before the institution of the three-point line. 

“I missed the three-point line by one year, and I was a shooter with range,” said Eggink. “I would say 60-70 percent of all my shots would have been three-pointers.”

So it is reasonable to believe Eggink could have pushed for 2,000 career points if only he were born a few years later.

After his playing days were over, the history/education major became an assistant coach on the 1985-86 men’s basketball team, which made Marist’s first NCAA tournament appearance in school history.

The following year, Eggink returned home and spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Oregon and then one year as an assistant at St. Mary’s College. Eggink and his wife would make their way back to the east coast, where he would become the social studies teacher at Saugerties High School and coach the boy’s basketball team.

Broadcasting was never in Eggink’s plan, but he is not one to turn away from a new challenge, and when the opportunity came about, he gave it a shot.

“One thing they said to me within five minutes was ‘Well you have a great voice, and you know the game, those are the kind of voices we are looking for,’” said Eggink.

It’s true. Eggink’s cadence, whether on ESPN3 or the phone, has that boom, energy, and emotion that sets apart the best broadcasters.

While Eggink’s voice was game-ready, he did have to learn a thing or two during his first broadcast. “I kept saying ‘we,’ and as broadcasters, you really need to be neutral,” said Eggink. “[My producer] said ‘Steve, you’re not playing for Marist anymore, you’re not coaching for Marist anymore!’”

Since then, Eggink has worked hard to hone his skill as a color commentator. He has been well-equipped, working alongside play-by-play commentators Dean Darling and Geoff Brault.

“First of all, they’re both great play-by-play guys,” said Eggink. “I think if you poll names in the MAAC, both of them would be at the top of the list. They’re both always ultra prepared.”

Just as shared trust is essential between broadcast partners, respect is also crucial.

“I would hesitate to think there’s a job in basketball or a perspective in basketball that he hasn’t experienced at one time,” said Brault. “It creates such a comfort level to know that the guy sitting next to me has the expertise in just about anything that might come up.”

Eggink has seen the game from just about every angle: player, coach, commentator, and parent to his daughters — two of whom have played collegiate basketball. His commitment to perfecting his craft at each level shines through.

“You have to have a good work ethic. If you don’t have a good work ethic, you’re not going to make it. You set yourself apart with a good work ethic,” said Eggink.

Just like he would have been practicing free throw after free throw in the McCann Gym, Eggink wants to improve after every game. “I’m always trying to get better,” said Eggink. “I watch all the games I do on ESPN3 or ESPN+. I critique myself because I think you always have to strive to be better.”

Eggink has a career of good merits to speak for him. So, is there anything Eggink does not want said?

“Yes! He’s a sandbagger on the golf course,” said Brault. “He will tell you his handicap is a five, and that’s just a dirty lie. I think it is important that you know Steve is a much better golfer than he’ll tell you, and frankly, he’s manipulating the handicap system, and he should be called out on it.”

A hard-working broadcaster, Eggink has shown that dedication to the craft yields great results, just as if he was still on the court. Marist red runs thick through Eggink, and the excitement for the game hasn’t slowed as he approaches 20 years broadcasting the Red Foxes.

Edited by Andrew Hard and Bridget Reilly

Photo Credit: Marist Athletics

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