Matt Martucci ’06 on the power of persistence in sports reporting

by Olivia Conte

October 22, 2018

The play-by-play announcer for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks returned to Newhouse to talk to students Oct. 12

Matt Martucci '06
Matt Martucci '06

The halls of Newhouse have changed since Matt Martucci graduated 12 years ago, but the play-by-play announcer could still identify with the pressure and competition that is part of being a Newhouse student.

“Like a lot of you, I was surrounded by a lot of competitive people who pushed me to be good at what I was doing,” Martucci said.

Martucci didn’t know it at the time, but several of his classmates would become big names in sports reporting, including Chris Villani, Anish Shroff and Jason Benetti.

As a freshman, Martucci started recording morning sportscasts at WAER, Central New York’s NPR affiliate. Starting writers at the station go through an intense clearing process in order to call games on the radio.

“I was growing more and more frustrated,” Martucci said. “I was wondering if I was ever going to get put on desk.”

It took longer than Martucci wanted it to, but his patience paid off; during his junior year, Martucci was one of the first people in his class to do play-by-play for football and basketball for WAER.

“Senior year, I think I did five or six football games and about 10 or 11 basketball games,” Martucci said. 

The persistence and dedication Martucci showed at WAER was only the beginning. After graduating Syracuse, Martucci continued to take advantage of any opportunities that came his way. Sometimes, those chances were few and far between.

“As an anxious, ambitious 25-year-old right out of school, it never feels like it’s happening fast enough.”

But things have a funny way of working out. Martucci went to work for a startup called Campus Insiders, a multi-platform sports network now known as Stadium. In his first year with the company, Martucci called three Patriot League football games. This opened more doors for him, although at an inopportune time.

“I was on my honeymoon, sitting on a beach in Maui, where I got offered two more football games. And I picked up the phone and I accepted them,” Martucci said.

The additional football games set Martucci up for a series of football and basketball packages that solidified his presence in the sports broadcasting industry. Beginning this month, Martucci will call 16 college basketball games, along with a full slate of St. Joe’s games on the radio and spring lacrosse on the digital Lax Sports Network. It took him a while, but Martucci finally felt like he pieced things together. He told students that he didn’t always believe he would make it in the industry and that they would feel the same way. The key was to stay persistent.

“I have no doubt that at some point, you will doubt yourself, and that’s okay. That’s part of this. The competition breeds that kind of stuff. But the important thing is that you get through that, and you know you have the ability to do this,” Martucci said.

Martucci took his own advice, and never gave up on himself. Although it took some time for him to get to where he is today, it was time well spent. Martucci learned from everyone around him, using their knowledge to help him grow in his craft. He emphasized how important it was for him to build genuine connections with people, not just a contacts list.

“Build meaningful relationships, and don’t build relationships just for the sake of getting a job, just be interested in people,” Martucci said.

Martucci’s passion and tenacity during times of doubt paid off, as he gets to do a job he loves every day. 

“Someday, it may not be right away…but if you stick with it, you will get to where you want to be.”

Olivia Conte is a sophomore in the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.