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25 Years After Flutie's Hail Mary, Where is the Broadcast Crew Now?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:13 AM, under , , , , , , ,

25 years ago on November 23, 1984, Doug Flutie led Boston College over Bernie Kosar's Miami Hurricanes, completing the 47-45 win with the incredible 48-yard "Hail Mary" pass that will forever go down in college football lore. CBS Sports was covering that game. Everybody talks about what happened with the players and coaches, but what about the CBS Sports production crew for that historic game? The game that some say changed television coverage of college football forever?

Suzanne Smith, who is currently the only female director on any network's NFL game coverage, was a CBS Sports rookie as an entry level broadcast associate. 25 years later, she offers this little tidbit (she wants to save the really good stories for the 30th anniversary).

The crew was led Ric LaCivita, our lead college football producer. Larry Cavolina (our 2nd director)  was directing and Bob Matina was the assistant director. And then there was little ole me. The next day we had our "big" game, Notre Dame at USC in LA. So our lead director was there with our other AD setting up and gong through all the preparations.

Our game was in prime time, so it was a big game too, with Flutie's name was kinda being mentioned for Heisman. You get the idea. After the game was over, LaCivita, Pat Haden and I flew to LA to do the Saturday game.

Talk about a weekend you won't forget. I remember standing in the tunnel of the Coliseum, holding Lou Holtz, thinking, is this what my life is going to be like?!

As it turns out, it all turned out pretty good.

Needless to say, lots of stories around this game....

So where is that production crew now?

As mentioned earlier, Suzanne is currently the only female director for NFL game coverage on broadcast and cable TV.

Ric LaCavita, who left CBS Sports back in the mid to late 1990's joined forces with others to put together the Outdoor Life Network which has since morphed into Versus. He is currently directing the FSN South Southeastern Conference football package among other projects.

Larry Cavolina, who was replaced as the lead NFL director by Lance Barrow (biography) Mike Arnold (biography) in February 2004 (right after directing the Super Bowl for CBS a few weeks before), is directing college football games for ESPN.

Bob Matina is the studio director for CBS Sports' NCAA Men's Basketball Championship coverage. He also serves as director of THE NFL TODAY and CBS Sports' college basketball studio show.

Pat Haden has taken up what seems like life-long residency on the NBC Sports Notre Dame package.

Brent Musburger, who had the play-by-play for the game, was let go by CBS in 1990, and has resurrected his career over on ABC-ESPN. This Saturday, you will see the now 70-year old broadcaster and hear his trademark "You are looking live..." from Georgia Tech's Grant Field as the resurgent Yellow Jackets host the faltering University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Oh and the Notre Dame - USC game the next day? Notre Dame won 19-7, the second win in an 11-game winning streak over the Trojans. How times have changed.

Editor's Footnote: Suzanne Smith was the second CBS Sports Broadcast Associate I ever worked for. She hired me to work the 1985 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament First and Second round games at the University of Dayton, where I got to see Villanova take their first steps to their eventual National Championship. And she gave me a cool job for a young runner as the rehearsal PA announcer for the player introductions. I decided to have a little fun with it and she later said I should do that all the time since I had a knack for it. For my friends that know me well, this should give them a little chuckle.

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