Voices of the CWS: Kevin Kugler

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Ryan Jaeckel
CONTRIBUTOR

Photo courtesy of Kevin Kugler/Graphic by Kamrin Baker/the Gateway

It’s been an incredible week of college baseball here in Omaha, NE. From the pitcher’s duels, every blast over the outfield wall and a historic ride that is Michigan baseball, Kevin Kugler has been there to make the call for fans listening on the radio.

Sports have always captivated the mind of Kugler since he was young. Taking that interest of athletics, Kugler went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he got a degree in journalism with a concentration in broadcasting. What caught Kugler’s attention was the live aspect of events.

“It’s always a challenge describing what’s happening in front of you,” Kugler said.

While in school, Kugler met his best friend, John Bishop.

“We took the same class together,” Kugler said. “He sat behind me and I saw him wearing a Cubs hat; so we talked about the Cubs.”

While the two were in school together, they both worked at KRNU Husker Radio and did a sports show titled “Monday Night Sports Live,” the first call-in talk show. While doing the show together Kugler and Bishop got to know each other well, creating a friendship of over 25 years.

“I know John better on air than anyone else I have worked with,” Kugler said.

After graduation, Kugler took a radio job in York, NE and did play-by-play for the Omaha Racers, Omaha’s own professional basketball team who played in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). In the middle of 2000, Kugler got a call to work at 1620 The Zone KOZN. In September he started a show, “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with his co-host Mike’l Severe.

“The show was a great outlet for my creativity,” Kugler said. “Nebraska sports at the time, with Frank Solich, Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan really helped the show grow.”

While doing USC, Kugler said it was his most fun in broadcasting. He enjoyed the interactions with listeners.

In 2011, sports in Nebraska changed. Nebraska had joined the Big Ten Conference. This opened a new door for Kugler, who said he is very lucky for the opportunity.

“I emailed the folks at BTN (Big Ten Network) and told them who I was,” he said.

BTN picked up Kugler and had him cover a few sports. After they later expanded his role, leaving Kugler with a decision he had to make. In the summer of 2012, Kugler was leaving “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” to do more play-by-play coverage on the Big Ten Network and on Westwood One Sports; such as Sunday Night Football, the Masters, the Olympic Games, NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament and the Men’s College World Series.

Over his 16 years covering the CWS, starting in 2004 and doing the play-by-play since 2007, Kugler’s fondest memory was Andy Gerch’s home run in Nebraska’s 2005 appearance against Arizona State. Another memory that will stick with Kugler was the final game at Rosenblatt Stadium, the former home of the CWS.

“The dimming of the lights and ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ was being played on trumpet,” he said.

Kugler loves covering the CWS. Calling the most underrated sporting events in the country, he said, it resonates with the city and is fun to be apart of.

When he isn’t traveling to different venues, Kugler likes to go snorkeling with his family. He is also a fan of the “Golden Girls.”

“Dorothy is my favorite,” Kugler said. “She’s more pragmatic; a get things done ‘Golden Girl’.”

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