How Colorado State University Helped Start Al Michaels’ Massive Career [Audio]
He's one of the best-known sports announcers/broadcasters of his generation; he made the famous "Do you believe in miracles?" call during the 1980 Olympics. Did you know his career started by calling a CSU game?
This is a story that fans of CSU, Al Michaels, and sports in general, can tell around the office and at parties. Today, Al Michaels has been a part of myriad sports broadcasts, but when it comes down to how it all began, he talks about Colorado State University.
You probably cannot count how many times you have heard the legendary Al Michaels "call" a football game. He's been doing it for decades; as well as hockey, basketball, and baseball games. His voice is attached to one of the greatest pieces of audio to come out of the Cold War: When, in 1980, USA Hockey beat USSR to advance to the Gold Medal finals:
In 1980, at the age of 36, Al was already 18 years into his sports broadcasting career, when he called that hockey game. As he tells the story about that broadcast, "I had a bunch of rabbit's feet with me for good luck;" they seem to have paid off. Who's to say if that "Miracles" call didn't officially really launch him into the star we know today?
Al was guest on the popular podcast, "Smartless," in March of 2023. During that interview, he talks about how it all started for him, back in the early 1960's. As fan of Al Michaels, and a fan of CSU, I nearly fell off my elliptical when I heard how his first broadcast involved Colorado State.
Al had chosen, to get his education in broadcasting, to attend Arizona State University. The head of the department had told him that by his third year he could be calling a game for ASU. Just picture this young Al Michaels, eager to be a broadcaster, not knowing what we do today. Goose pimples, right?
It turns out, according to Al, that it was just six days later when he was needed to call a game. His first sports broadcast. It was a football game between Arizona State and Colorado State on September 29, 1962. ASU "beat up" on the Rams that day with a final score of 35-0. Technically, the Rams did not win one game that season, going 0-10.
After ASU, Al got a job in the minor leagues, calling games for the Hawaii Islanders, and from there to the Cincinnati Reds; from there, there was not stopping him.
Al Michaels himself called in to the station and talked to our front desk person. He wanted to clarify some facts (which I've corrected)- I had thought it was a baseball game, but it was football, and I had the year wrong. It was.
We had Al's number on the record, so I took a shot and called him! -