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Guest Column: Ted Gangi on His First Final Four With CBS Sports

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:27 AM, under , , ,

Athens, GA (Mar 24, 2009) - Ted Gangi has lived in different spheres of the sports media world throughout his career. He has been with CBS Sports, supporting talent and production teams from the research department. He has been a writer and assistant sports editor for the Dallas Morning News. He is now the webmaster and coordinator for the Football Writers Association of America. the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and the United States Basketball Writers Association. He also has a business, collegepressbox.com, that helps smaller schools manage their sports information needs.

Ted has graciously allowed us to reprint this article he published on Facebook. Thanks Ted!

My first Final Four (with CBS Sports)
by Ted Gangi


Twenty years ago, at age 23, I attended my first Final Four with CBS Sports in Seattle. I had been a volunteer on the host committee of the 1986 Final Four in Dallas as a college junior.

This year, upstart Seton Hall defied the odds and made it to the title game before dropping a heartbreaker to Michigan in overtime. Here is what I recall from that eventful weekend in the great Northwest.

My first real Final Four venture, some 3,000 miles from home. I paid for the plane ticket myself with a $99 "recent college graduate" voucher from Northwest Airlines. Not knowing any better, I then took a city bus to the hotel from the airport. Later, I found out that CBS would have paid for me to rent a car and given me per diem (which I did eventually get). They even reimbursed me for the bus fare.

I worked on the opening animation for the championship game with the very talented Danny Forer. What I remember most is our self-induced parking fiasco at the hotel. Danny had forgotten that he had self-parked after a late-night editing session (which was Sunday, I believe). The next morning, when we came out to get his car to go back and finish editing, the valet could not locate it. Until I sheepishly had to remind him that we self-parked the night before. It was kind of too late as he blasted the poor valet. Oh well.

Brent Musburger flagged down an off-duty city bus, dropped a 50 on the driver and got us a ride back to the hotel. For some reason, cabs were hard to come by that night.
The '89 Final Four is certainly among the most memorable for me. The games at the old Kingdome were great and, aside from scoring my friend Keith Currie four tickets at the last minute, it was also the trip in which Brent Musburger flagged down an off-duty city bus, dropped a 50 on the driver and got us a ride back to the hotel. For some reason, cabs were hard to come by that night.

I also got to know the Frieder family, as in Coach Bill Frieder. He was the deposed Michigan coach who took the Arizona State job before the end of the season. Bo Schembechler, then the AD, told him to scram and put a "Michigan Man," Steve Fisher in charge for the tournament. Good move, it turned out. Anyway, I got to know both husband and wife and their young daughter. At halftime of Michigan's semifinal game, his wife Janice flagged me down and asked me to call Bill at the hotel. Bill hadn't come to the game and, oddly enough, his daughter was seated right next to Steve Fisher's daughter. But, no Coach Frieder. Attempts to reach him from a courtside payphone failed.

There was one other little episode. If you remember, Seton Hall had an Australian national by the name of Andrew Gaze. His folks were coming in for the weekend and I was charged with finding their flight information, so we could greet them at the airport with a camera crew.

There I was telling someone that I was, in fact, Andrew Gaze and I was playing in the Final Four and I needed to know when my parents were landing in Seattle.
Having no luck going through the formal process, I called the airlines and pretended to be Andrew Gaze, without the accent, of course. I did this from a payphone in the Michigan team hotel. Next to me was Michigan 6-10 reserve B.J. Oosterbaan. Well, there I was telling someone that I was, in fact, Andrew Gaze and I was playing in the Final Four and I needed to know when my parents were landing in Seattle. What could B.J. have been thinking when he overheard me? Well, guess what? It worked and we were at the airport to greet the Gazes.

So, it was an eventful weekend. I even got to point out to Danny Forer that the mascot he had in the opening sequence was not the Seton Hall Pirate, but the Evansville Purple Ace. It brought me some grief and angst from Danny and an extra two hours in the edit room. But, we did get it right.

Related Link(s)

Football Writers Association of America
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
United States Basketball Writers Association
CollegePressBox.com

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