Archive for Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Former player Greg Gurley settling into ‘dream job’ as KU radio analyst

Kansas University men’s basketball Radio broadcaster Greg Gurley, left, chats with partner Bob Davis during their pregame show before the Jayhawks’ game against Richmond on Dec. 18, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse. Gurley, a former KU guard under coach Roy Williams, is in his first year as color commentator alongside 29-year play-by-play man Davis.

Kansas University men’s basketball Radio broadcaster Greg Gurley, left, chats with partner Bob Davis during their pregame show before the Jayhawks’ game against Richmond on Dec. 18, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse. Gurley, a former KU guard under coach Roy Williams, is in his first year as color commentator alongside 29-year play-by-play man Davis.

December 25, 2012, 9:35 p.m. Updated December 25, 2012, 11:37 p.m.


Greg Gurley looks comfortable in his east-side, press-row seat in Allen Fieldhouse, nestled in a chair he hopes to occupy for the next 25 or so years.

“That’s my plan. I love what I do. It’s a dream job,” former Kansas University basketball guard Gurley said of working as color announcer for KU men’s games on the Jayhawk Radio Network.

“Both are dream jobs,” added Gurley, who doubles as second-year director of development for the Williams Fund. “During basketball season, I get paid to sit on center court, have the access I have and talk about my favorite team. Offseason, I get to meet KU people, work with KU people. It’s perfect.”

Gurley, 40, who played for Roy Williams’ Jayhawks from 1992-95 — “this is the 20-year anniversary of our ‘93 Final Four team” he states incredulously — is KU’s third color announcer to work with play-by-play man Bob Davis in the last 29 years. Davis worked with KU legend Max Falkenstien, who turned it over to Chris Piper, who worked six seasons on the hoops broadcasts.

In this file photo from March 16, 1995, Kansas’ Greg Gurley, left, and Colgate’s Tucker Neale go after a loose ball during a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Dayton, Ohio.

In this file photo from March 16, 1995, Kansas’ Greg Gurley, left, and Colgate’s Tucker Neale go after a loose ball during a first-round NCAA Tournament game in Dayton, Ohio.

“I understand how big of an honor and privilege this is,” Gurley said. “Not to sound too corny ... Max was doing it for 60 years and Chris (for six) ... it’s a pretty big deal, a very big deal to be in that neighborhood. What gets lost in this is Bob. Bob Davis is a legend. I’m just trying to learn on the fly. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a weird year the way the schedule has been made up. I’m looking forward to really getting going (with the usual flood of games) after Christmas.”

Davis said Gurley has picked up right where Piper left off.

“Greg is very enthusiastic, knows the kids (Jayhawks) well,” Davis said. “He can relate to what they are going through. He has great perspective. Chris kind of had the perspective of the big guy; I was getting on Greg for having the perspective of the shooter. I think they’ve been fine and are only going to get better,” Davis added of the broadcasts.

Gurley, who meets hundreds of KU grads yearly as a fundraiser, said he’s learned Jayhawk fans take their radio broadcasts seriously.

“I realize now how many people do listen to the radio broadcast, which is cool,” Gurley said. “In the past, I was either at the games or watching on TV, so the radio ... I didn’t really listen a lot unless I was in the car. You get a real sense of how many people do listen. I get phone calls, letters; most are positive, some are negative. I just take them and try to keep improving.”

He doesn’t mind the feedback at all.

“You get advice,” Gurley said with a smile. “Fans say, ‘Hey, you need to ask Bill (Self, KU coach) tougher questions (in postgame) or you need to do this or that.’ You sit there and listen and agree. I don’t really disagree. I’ve watched Bill work rooms where people ask dumb questions. He’s a master making everyone feel comfortable whether it’s a dumb question or not. I try to take that and run with it.”

Gurley, whose college coach had a remarkable .805 win percentage in 15 seasons at KU, is amazed that Self has an even better winning mark of .837 in 10 seasons.

“I’m not shocked, but I think what Bill has done is crazy,” Gurley said. “The eight straight Big 12 championships is what baffles me. There’s nothing out there like it. It’d be different if this was a weak conference. This is a really good basketball conference. To graduate the kids he graduates in bunches ... four, five guys leave at once and they come back and win it the next year. Florida won two national titles, then missed the NCAA Tournament let alone won their league. It’s a machine, reloading. He deserves a ton of credit.”

As far as this year’s team ... Gurley believes a ninth consecutive league title is quite possible.

“It’s not going to be overnight when you bring seven freshmen into the fold and immediately start playing well. The nature of Kansas fans is they expect that to happen,” Gurley said. “Look at Kentucky. They lost six guys to the NBA and have a bunch of new guys. It’s not happening (for Kentucky) as quickly.

“The great thing is we have four seniors. It doesn’t happen very often. It’s just the nature of college basketball. You are seeing a mix of seniors and freshmen playing really well together. And they’re going to get better.

“Fran Fraschilla (ESPN) said we’re probably not going to lose a game in Allen in the league. You win five or six on the road ... I don’t know if other teams are built for that. We’ll see.”

Gurley’s KU teams won three of four possible league titles. His fondest memory as a player?

“In 1995, the last game at Allen ... it was the only game I ever started. We were tied for the league lead. Whoever won that game won the Big Eight. We beat Oklahoma State,” Gurley said of a 78-62 win. “I had 50 family members here. I scored (13 points off 4-5 shooting; 3-4 from three) and had a good game. I actually got knocked out in the middle of it. I caught an errant elbow in the temple. If you were playing nowadays you’d be out a month. They gave you a little smelling salt, tell you to get back in there,” Gurley added with a laugh.

The Leawood native and Shawnee Mission South graduate currently dabbles in coaching as well as fundraising and announcing.

“My schedule doesn’t provide me to be around a lot on weekends, so my family has had to make sacrifices as far as me not being around as much,” said Gurley, who along with wife, Amy, have daughters Kate (12) and Jane (9). “Both my girls play volleyball and basketball. Since I don’t know anything about volleyball, I help in basketball when I can.”

The family man definitely is a popular figure around KU.

“He’s a KU guy and knows everybody,” Davis said. “Everybody likes him, and he’s a great person to be around.”


mae 5 years, 3 months ago

THANK YOU grlzdad for saying this. I was trying to figure out how to say it nice. You put it perfectly as I was thinking it.

Guy is so monotone I find myself falling asleep if the game gets up 40. Radio is the way to go right now, it just sucks that a powerhouse like KU can't have a TV broadcast audio lined up with audio that people like. Word of mouth spread like wildfire to use radio once max left.

msezdsit 5 years, 3 months ago

You have to like Gurley man but he has a ways to go to live up to either of his predecessors. Im betting he will. Piper turned out to be a natural while following a legend. That was a tuff gig. Greg just isn't there yet but I hope he continues to get the chance to put his own brand on the position .

Brett Fuller 5 years, 3 months ago

I don't even bother rushing to car after home games anymore because interviews are so bad. As a matter of fact it is better to skip than be frustrated with listening.

Jenny Morgison 5 years, 3 months ago

Bob Davis is awesome to listen to. I was sad when he decided to cut back on the Royals games. He could make the most boring game into something fun to listen to.

When Greg Gurley filled in a few times last year, I would turn the radio off. He is horrible. Such a dis-service to KU fans that love to listen to the game on the radio with Bob!

Joe Hyde 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, I happen to think that Bob Davis and Greg Gurley sound really good together on the radio. Matter of fact, the TV networks should let them do all the live broadcast announcing on televised games, reason being that Davis and Gurley (and Falkenstein and Piper earlier) always give credit not just to KU's players but opponents players and coaches as well. Never even a hint of gratuitous hate mongering.

Since Gurley, once a player himself, is relatively new at broadcasting, and especially new at conducting live post-game interviews with KU's head coach, it seems reasonable to assume he feels a certain hesitancy to press the coach for technical details related to game strategy and tactics.

In the first place, a former player is habituated to keeping his mouth shut and taking orders from a head coach, not thrusting a microphone in a coach's face and asking pointed questions. Second, any former player turned announcer -- but especially one who played ball at the school he's now broadcasting for -- would be instinctively reluctant to pry into the coach's thinking processes on the air for fear the answers might somehow "give away the keys to the castle", enabling opposing coaches to better formulate counter strategies and tactics that would be used against KU in upcoming games.

garyr 5 years, 3 months ago

He looks like Kevin Arnold's father, Norm, from The Wonder Years!!

Len Fleske 5 years, 3 months ago

nice guy but voice is monotone-is this all the better they can do? What happened to Chris Piper?

Richie Kennedy 5 years, 3 months ago

Piper's moved back to color on JTV games... I'm guessing IMG decided to make a switch.

riverdrifter 5 years, 3 months ago

Fully agree. Greg may be monotone but I don't need a full-of-himself and braying jackass yammering away at me. Give me a clear, informed, concise and measured breakdown of the game as it plays out. Hang in there Greg.

Kent Noble 5 years, 3 months ago

Give Greg a chance, we all gave Chris Piper a chance. Evidently you all don't remember when you started your first real job. I'm sure you all walked in so relaxed that you all thought you have been there for for a couple of years. Greg will figure it out just like we did when we first started our real first job, you criticizing SOB'S!! That' s the spirit. Is that how we support are true alumni basketball players.

ILoveLawrence 5 years, 3 months ago

He sounds like Kevin Costner, which always reminds me of baseball, which is a sport that puts me to sleep - guess its the monotone everybody is mentioning. Not a good fit for basketball.

Terry Schmidt 5 years, 3 months ago

I am a KU fan from decades past. Whereas I am loyal to Greg and all current and past Jayhawks, I just cannot stand his radio voice. I work out of state M - F, thus I rely on satellite radio. If it was not for Bob, I would switch to the opponent's satellite feed just to avoid Greg's voice. Yes, it is that bad. I am sure he is much better raising dollars than he is a broadcaster. Why not have David Lawrence? He has the right voice and knows a lot about football and basketball.

FrankDrebin 5 years, 3 months ago

HA! David Lawrence? You can't be serious? What gives you the impression he knows a lot about basketball? He was a football player, and when I listen to him on the radio, I sometimes question what he knows about that sport. Can't imagine basketball being better. On top of that, with as many possible fouls and violations in basketball that can occur, he would spend the entire broadcast complaining about the referees. Although GG is not the best, Lawrence is not the answer.
On another note, does anyone remember Milt Newton's couple of broadcasts? WHOA, those were bad.

KiferGhost 5 years, 3 months ago

Has there ever been a black ex player given a chance to do this?

garyr 5 years, 3 months ago

They tried out B.J. Williams, the Wichita South product, but he was too hard to understand. His articulation was horrible.

KiferGhost 5 years, 3 months ago

Funny, more players are black and yet only one has been given a chance and he didn't speak JOCO white so he didn't last? I guess in this part of Kansas blacks need to know their place.

Miles Nease 5 years, 3 months ago

I have Sirius/XM and get to listen to a lot of the other broadcasters. Gurley is probably the worst of the bunch. Is he drunk. tired or a combination of both? Why are people so willing to give him a chance to improve? We are KU, a basketball blueblood with a great journalism school. We shouldn't have to settle for someone like Gurley. He was on 810 for years and never improved. What makes you think this gig will be any different? Then there is the Williams Fund job that he landed. I fail to see how he was remotely qualified for that position. However, that is another topic for another day.

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