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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The new voice of the Aggies

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Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Andrew Monaco Sr. became A&M’s radio play-by- play announcer after Dave South retired last season. 

For the first time since 1985, the “Voice of the Aggies” title does not belong to Dave South.
Instead, a new voice is taking over play-by-play duties for Aggie football and men’s basketball games. Andrew Monaco Sr. has previously held jobs with the Orlando Magic and, most recently, the San Antonio Spurs.
Monaco was first bitten by the broadcasting bug in high school. One of his teachers was a former NBC employee and arranged for old audio equipment to be sent to the school. Here, Monaco gained hands on experience assembling newscasts.
“It was almost a taste of the real world as opposed to just learning [about] it,” Monaco said. “It was really fascinating and you learned a little bit of everything about TV and production.”
Monaco continued to pursue broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland. Once there, he immediately started working at the radio station on campus covering football, men’s basketball and lacrosse. He also served as the sports editor of the campus newspaper.
“If A&M had lacrosse, then [this] would be the same job that I had when I was in college,” Monaco said. “I’m really glad I got a chance to do that. That was definitely the bug, to be able to host, to do color, to then do play-by-play. I [was] really fortunate to finally do it hands on.”
Monaco said the connections he made throughout his life have shaped his career, beginning with his first job out of college. Listening to an Atlantic City, New Jersey, sports talk station in his parents’ house, Monaco heard the voice of a former Maryland classmate.
“[He] was a couple years ahead of me,” Monaco said. “He says ‘This is my last show. I’m going to Salisbury, Maryland to take over as sports director at the TV station.’ Well, I know the name, so I immediately gave a call.”
Monaco was hired a few weeks later and began splitting hosting and live coverage duties with the station’s sports director. He said the learning curve was steep, and offered him his first chance to handle losing a job.
“I wish I could tell you I knew what I was doing, but I’m not sure,” Monaco said. “I’m glad to have had that opportunity. When that format changed, that was it. They say if you haven’t been fired in this business you haven’t been in this business, so I’m kind of glad it was my very first job. I wasn’t fired, but the format changed — it’s the same thing.”
That experience helped Monaco secure his next venture as broadcast coordinator and host for the Orlando Magic.
“I learned later I got the job with the Magic because one of the vice presidents used to drive his kids to school every morning and apparently his kids liked listening [to me],” Monaco said. “It just goes to show you don’t know who’s listening, who’s reading, who’s watching. That was a big opportunity for me with the Magic, that’s for sure.”
During his time with the Magic, Monaco became close friends with Dennis Newman at the Florida Radio Network, a relationship he says changed the course of his career.
Several years into their friendship, Monaco had moved on to doing play-by-play for the Orlando Cubs — now the Rays — and Newman had taken his place with the Magic. One weekend, TV broadcaster for the Magic David Steele was unable to cover a Magic game due to a scheduling conflict with the Florida Gators, and instead offered the job to Newman. Newman declined, because of his desire to stay on the radio, and passed the opportunity along to Monaco.
“I think that helped a lot of people with the Magic see what I could do on the TV side,” Monaco said. “I’ve thanked [Newman] time and time again. I couldn’t lose there. If Dennis went over and did TV, I was doing radio for the Magic Radio Network, so I didn’t think that I could lose. I’ve always been really thankful that he thought of me to do that.”
Soon after, Orlando became the landing spot for both an International Hockey League and WNBA team, and Monaco began doing TV for the hockey team and radio broadcasts for the WNBA. In 2001, however, the city began making plans to get rid of those teams. That wasn’t the end of the line for Monaco though, as he saw that San Antonio was going to have a similar job with the Rampage and the Stars, so he reached out to the organization.
“I originally got hired [in San Antonio] to do the Rampage,” Monaco said. “They knew that I had the NBA in my background, but I was hired to do hockey and the WNBA.”
During his first year in San Antonio, Monaco got his chance to return to the NBA. A scheduling conflict allowed him to broadcast a Spurs game, and soon he was covering the Rampage, hosting for the Spurs and sideline reporting for the WNBA. In 2007, he primarily worked on Spurs broadcasts.
“It was really busy, but I love that,” Monaco said. “That was always fun. [I’m] very fortunate that the opportunity came and it had been what I was doing with the Magic and parlayed that into the Spurs overall.”
When Dave South announced his retirement last fall, Monaco was immediately intrigued by the job opening. During the hiring process, the Vice President of Broadcast Operations at Learfield Communications asked Monaco why he would leave the Spurs for Aggieland.
“I laid it out for him,” Monaco said. “[There are] very few jobs like this in the country. Not every college job is like this. I think it’s special, I think it’s unique. For me personally, I think [it’s] the biggest job that I’ve had. They don’t open very often. I jokingly say that it took 33 years for this one to open because that’s how long Dave was here. We throw ‘icon’ around an awful lot. He’s an icon and when you heard Dave, you knew it was A&M.”
Monaco officially started his play-by-play duties on Aug. 30 as the Aggies took on Northwestern State. He said the broadcast went smoothly, something he worked toward over the summer, along with partners, Dave Elmendorf and Will Johnson. The trio traveled to Birmingham, Alabama together to attend a meeting of SEC officials and discuss various rule changes for this season.
Looking back on that first show, Monaco said he never felt more comfortable during a first broadcast.
“That’s a testament I think to Dave and Will for making it very comfortable, and I think it’s a testament of the trust that everyone has put in me,” Monaco said.
It hasn’t only been trust Monaco received since arriving on campus. He said the Aggie family has been “unbelievable” since his hiring was announced June 8.
“Jimbo Fisher used the word ‘embrace,’” Monaco said. “That’s the word I use. Being embraced by this Aggie family, that made things a lot easier.”
Monaco said he knows he can never fully replace Dave South, and that is not his goal. His goal is to be himself and make Aggie fans proud.
“I did joke with [Dave], ‘I’m a little mad at you. The shadow you cast is really long and the shoes that I have to fill are really big,’ and he chuckled and looked at me and said, ‘You’re going to be just fine,’” Monaco said.

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