For nearly two decades, Jeff Reeves has been announcing championship games and events for the Utah High School Activities Association. Deseret News sports writer Sarah Thomas asked Reeves about his time behind the mic.
How did your announcing career get started?
My brother was a disc jockey and I would help him out, announcing and introducing his show. I was 12 years old. I would watch games and set up scoreboards on my living room floor. I just loved it. I was in the furniture business for 25 years after radio, but I was in radio for about 20 years. I’ve been in radio quite a bit. I was a disc jockey, had my own show in country radio. I’ve been fortunate to do quite a few things like that.
What variety of events have you worked?
All kinds of sports with the kids of Utah — with the Salt Lake Bees; I go from drill team to non-athletic events; I’ve been in theater, done some amateur acting. I’ve even been a theater critic for a local newspaper a few times. I’ve run the gamut. I’ve done quite a few big things.
How long have you been working with the UHSAA?
Since 1993 at all of the major events. I don’t do swimming, of course, but I’ve done drill team, football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, volleyball. I’ve done wrestling for a lot of years. I’ve just been fortunate. We’ve had a good relationship. It’s just fun to (watch) kids (compete). It’s just fun to see them grow.
Do you have a system to stay organized while announcing games?
Yes. It does take a lot of preparation. I’ve taken a lot of advice from a lot of people, and one of the things I have found is you need to do your homework. I will take a couple, three weeks before a tournament, I will prepare a roster; before the game I will work on it on phonetics; I will contact the teams, will find out who the starters are; I will get into it a little bit because my feeling is the kids of Utah deserve it. I’ve always felt like, if the kids are going to put in the time to do this, whether they’re in speech or it's first down at the goal line, I should put in the time to do it well. I played baseball and basketball (at Box Elder), and I think it’s just part of paying back. I think we need to support them. I just love to see them grow and come back and give back. It’s really a joy.
Do you have a favorite sport?
Baseball. I love it. I love that fact that there is a laid-back atmosphere. I do love the fact that it is more statistics driven. I really enjoy baseball. Basketball is exciting, mainly because I played it, but also because there is an up-and-down, give-and-take strategy there. Those are probably my two favorites.
Is there a most memorable game or event?
I would have to say boy, there’s been a lot of great games. I would have to really give that some thought. We’ve had a couple Juan Diego against (Hurricane) up here (at Rice-Eccles Stadium) a few years ago in football. Juan Diego won the game in overtime in the end zone, right over there (in the southeast corner) where they lost, ironically, yesterday. It kind of struck all of us as funny because Juan Diego won the same place where they didn’t win yesterday. It was a thrilling finish. It was heartbreaking for (Hurricane), as I remember. A very heartbreaking, last-second sort of thing. That was quite a win.
There’s been a lot of memories. We’ve had a lot of great games. We’ve had a lot of tremendous individual efforts up here, and in basketball and baseball. ... There’s just a lot of good kids.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.