Bo's Blog: Boise State’s Behler Always Welcomes Trips to DFW Metroplex
By Bo Carter
Forgive Boise State radio broadcaster Bob Behler if he is like a youngster left alone in the candy store prior to the 8th Annual SERVPRO First Responder Bowl at Dallas’ venerable Cotton Bowl Stadium. This time he is airing his first game from the Dallas stadium as the play-by-play voice of the Broncos.
The highly-awarded broadcaster, who began his career in a variety of broadcast roles as an undergraduate at Georgia from 1982-86, actually has attended a football contest at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
And what a tussle it was…
As a student at UGa, the native of Stockton, Calif., saved his coins and watched from the stands as a fan Jan. 1, 1984, when Georgia upended then-No. 2 nationally Texas 10-9 when it appeared the Longhorns would capture the mythical national football crown outright or at least a share of the laurels with a win by any margin over the stubborn Bulldogs.
Georgia came from behind in the final four minutes of the defensive struggle to recover a fumbled Longhorns punt and erase a 9-3 UT lead before a large Longhorns contingent and CBS Sports national television audience that day.
“To say the least, it was a pretty exciting day for Georgia fans,” Behler said with a smile.
Fast forward two years and a just-graduated Behler left as a student assistant the friendly confines of the office of CoSIDA Hall of Fame publicist Claude Felton at Georgia and matriculated to historic Bucknell University (the alma mater of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and college football standout Christy Mathewson) as assistant media relations director and radio voice of Bison sports from 1986-99.
In between, he had the dream of a young broadcaster’s career with a two-year stint as play-by-play man for the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Lookouts of the Class AA Southern League – a stepping stone for many sportscasters en route to a Major League Baseball radio position.
But in Behler’s case, the desire to remain in college athletics and hold dual positions in communications/media relations and broadcasting overcame any of those future pro sports desires.
The result was the 13-year career at Bucknell followed by nine years as director of broadcast services at UMass. And his peers took notice. Behler was decorated with eight Associated Press broadcasting excellence awards from 1999-2008 with the Minutemen, and he was one of the first interviewees for a similar vacancy at Boise State.
By now Behler’s California and Georgia blood had “thickened” enough for him to stand those challenging winters in Boise, Idaho, and several more area honors as well as Idaho Sports Broadcaster of the Year Awards later find him journeying to the radio booth for his first call of a Dallas bowl.
Cheering him on will be dozens of DFW area friends, including his longtime broadcast mentor and Texas Radio Hall of Fame member Brad Sham (the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys) and several Big 12 Conference staff members the BSU broadcaster met while attending the Texas Rangers baseball home opener in 2002 before the Big 12 played its Phillips 66 Baseball Championship at the then-Ballpark in Arlington later that season.
“It always is a thrill to visit Dallas,” Behler related, “and it is even bigger this time with a Boise State bowl to broadcast. It will be great to experience the bowl atmosphere and see friends like Brad and many others who have helped me throughout my career.”
And the Boise State radio ace is no stranger to some of the most historic moments in BSU history since taking over play-by-play duties in 2008. The 11-year veteran in his latest assignment has watched the Broncos roll up a composite record of 121-25-0 with 11 consecutive bowl appearances and a pair of Fiesta Bowl victories over Power Five conference opponents.
He admits the bowl trips never get tiring.
“I was fortunate to meet my wife after I came to Boise State,” he explained, “and she works with us in keeping statistics during the broadcasts. She has gotten some great road and bowl trips down through the years.
“Besides,” he said with a grin during a recent newspaper interview, “I have the best seat in the house.”