From Orange and Blue to Red and White, Brandon Ross Excels Behind the Mic

Brandon Ross was on the call for the most exciting game of the year in Poughkeepsie. “And the Red Foxes are conference champions!” Ross shouted as Jacob Schulman’s penalty kick secured Marist the MAAC title. The action-packed final was not only one of Ross’ highlights for the season but also his fourth game in as many days.

Ross’ very long weekend began at Tenney Stadium on Thursday for the men’s MAAC soccer semifinal, where Marist won 1-0. On Friday, Ross was asked at the last minute to call a Yale Women’s Volleyball game before taking an hour and a half flight down to South Carolina. He was on the radio call for Marist Football’s dominating win over Presbyterian and then immediately flew back to New York to prepare for Sunday’s championship match.

“It can be taxing, but it’s nice to be on the move,” said Ross.

The  intensity of a schedule like that is not typical for Ross, but his commitment to the craft of broadcasting is strong.

The Syracuse, NY native grew up listening to the legendary Yankees’ broadcasters Michael Kay and John Sterling, and was a massive Syracuse Orange fan. So when it was time to apply for college, Ross was lucky to learn that the school he grew up rooting for was one of the top schools in the nation in his area of interest. Once he got on campus, Ross was ready to try everything.

“I threw myself into everything right away to figure out what I wanted,” said Ross.

Ross began his career in sports media covering the women’s ice hockey team for the student newspaper and quickly learned that wasn’t the area he wanted to focus on. He then got involved with Syracuse’s student radio stations, which provide unique opportunities to gain experience. Working for WAER, Syracuse’s NPR affiliate, is demanding from the start, sometimes having students come in at 5:30 in the morning to write a morning brief. 

While being demanding, Syracuse boasts one of the most competitive communications programs in the country.

“You have to work hard,” said Ross, “and that competitive atmosphere pushed me to be at my best.”

Ross took every opportunity that came his way, whether it was helping LeMoyne College, a Division II school down the road, with some of their non-revenue sports, or helping his friend start a local high school sports streaming service. All his hard work paid off when he worked for the Onondaga Flames of the New York Collegiate Baseball League during the summer after his freshman year.

Ross recalls his first-ever live broadcast; “it was so bad.”

“I listened back to some highlights from that summer, and it’s like I can’t even recognize my voice, but I was able to knock myself listening to it every day and get better,” said Ross.

Ross put in the work, took the reps, and found a passion for play-by-play. Along the way, he called baseball, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, and even wrestling.

“Doing a lot of sports is something that got instilled in me early, and I’m grateful for it because the ability to be versatile and have experience where others may not can help you get a lot of breaks,” said Ross.

Saying yes to whatever opportunity that was in front of him has helped Ross hone his craft, no matter how little experience he had going in. 

“I got an opportunity to suck with little consequence, and getting that opportunity to not do well and learn from it and improve is essential,” said Ross.

After graduating from Syracuse University in December 2020, Ross decided he wanted to stay in the New York area. So he emailed around 80 athletic departments within a 2.5 hour driving radius of Syracuse and his home in Stamford, CT. One of those schools was Marist.

Initially, it was a maybe, but then Ross got the call to fill in for a women’s lacrosse in March 2021 and he immediately said yes. It took a little adjusting, but Ross did a good enough job and was assured he would be the guy getting the call going forward.

Ross continued to fill in as the play-by-play announcer for lacrosse games last spring and even featured as the color analyst for water polo. This year, Ross has stepped into a consistent role calling soccer and volleyball and still helping out whenever needed.

Marist is not Ross’ only gig. He also calls games for the PHF (Premier Hockey Federation), a budding young league trying to grow the game of hockey for women.

“I’ve seen some of the best hockey plays I’ve ever seen calling these PHF games,” said Ross. “I think these players are incredibly talented.”

Ross is excited to be a part of the league as it works to enter the mainstream sports world.

In addition, Ross calls games for the NWSL and is the Public Address for the Bridgeport Islanders.

“In a typical week, I’ll probably have between two and four games,” said Ross.

Ross puts a lot of work into preparing for each broadcast because, as a broadcaster, you have to be ready for whatever might happen and inform the viewer of what they might not realize.

“It’s about being ready for moments like that, and most of the fans at home will be like ‘oh, well, that’s cool’ or ‘fascinating,’” said Ross.

While working nonstop as Ross does is taxing, he does it for a reason.

“Sports broadcasting is my true passion, and I would love to make my avocation my permanent vocation.”

Ross hopes one day to be the primary voice of a college team or play-by-play commentator for a major network, but until that day, he is happy at Marist and is thankful to them for giving him his first professional chance.

Edited by Mackenzie Meaney and Connor Kurpat

Photo from Brandon Ross

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