Women’s broadcaster reflects on Beaver athletics, life

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Solomon Myers: OMN Photographer

Long-time Oregon State broadcaster, Ron Callan, can be seen reporting on the Oregon State versus Portland State women’s basketball game in Corvallis, Ore on March 20. Since becoming a fan in 2007, Callan has been broadcasting women’s basketball for the last 15 years.

Hannah Mitchell, Sports Contributor

  Ron Callan of Tigard, Ore. is a busy man. Between being a father of three, a singer of foreign national anthems and a bartender on the weekends, Callan has also covered Oregon State women’s basketball since 2007. 

  “You want to call a fair game and you want to be fair to both teams, but hey, you know, I cover the Beavers,” Callan said when he talked about what it was like covering for Oregon State.“When we make a three-pointer, I’m probably a little more excited than when the other team does.”

  After the last couple of years of broadcasting during a pandemic and temporarily changing his job, Callan enjoyed being around people again. 

  “In 2020 I had to call all the home games from up above Gil [Coliseum], could not interact with the players as far as interviews and things like that and you know, road games, I had to do them off television on the fourth floor of Reser [Stadium],” Callan said. 

  Callan was unable to work outside of Corvallis, Ore., covering games in the city until he was able to go to Eugene, Ore. in the 2020-21 season, and later that year covered the NCAA tournament in San Marcos, Texas. Callan said he was thankful he didn’t have to be in the bubble and eating out of paper bags like the team was, and tried to make the best out of a bad situation 

  “COVID-19 was a huge challenge, but I think the team handled it well last year and the same with this year,” Callan said. “As far as COVID-19 goes, I think the Beavs won over COVID-19 this year.”

  After two years in a pandemic, Callan said he is grateful to be back in his usual routine with the Beavers. 

  “This year has been great in the fact that, hey, I travel with the team again, broadcast the game, do my pregame interviews right after their shootaround with the assistant coach and one player, and of course, I talk to Scott Rueck about 45 minutes before tip-off each game,” Callan said.

  Callan makes the trip from Tigard multiple times a week during the season. 

  “I’m used to I-5, I make it down there in about an hour and 10 minutes each way, I got friends down there to stay with if I need to stay,” Callan said.

  During the trip, Callan also delivers beer for a friend from Oregon City to locations to be sold in Corvallis, including China Delight and Market of Choice. 

  Another thing that keeps Ron busy is his three kids, aged 39, 30 and 23. His eldest daughter is a writer for a marketing firm in Washington, his middle son is also in Washington at graduate school and his youngest daughter is still in Portland, Ore. 

  Callan had the opportunity to begin covering women’s basketball at Oregon State during the 2007-2008 season.

  Callan recalled being in a meeting in Portland when the job was offered up and jumped on the opportunity.

  “I raised my hand before anybody else,” Callan said. “I don’t know if anyone else was that interested because if you’ve ever listened to sports radio, women’s basketball rarely gets any attention.” 

  Despite the sport having less air time than other sports, Callan had covered women’s basketball before in Seattle, Wash. for the University of Washington, and had enjoyed the way the game was played. 

  “I found out that women’s basketball is different from men’s basketball, but it’s just as good,” Callan said. “It’s just a different style and the teamwork and the passion for the sport is there as well.”

  As far as next season goes, Callan is hopeful for the roster that the Beavers have now and thinks they will be able to build off of what they have accomplished this season. 

  “I think the thing is Scott’s recruit and the stature of the program has grown,” Callan said.

  Callan remembers the exact date Rueck came to the Beavers, July 1, 2010, and has a tremendous amount of respect for what he has done for the Oregon State program. 

  Since Callan loaned his equipment to Terry Jonz, a fellow play-by-play broadcaster who covers the University of Oregon, Callan had equipment being shipped from Las Vegas’s PAC-12 tournament to reach  Corvallis in time for him to cover the WNIT tournament. 

  “I would never say no, I wouldn’t matter what TV he was for, but it was a beaver working with a duck,” Callan said. “He was so thankful. The same thing has happened to me where  I’ve needed to search out help. The broadcasting community is really small, women and men. It’s a really interesting group of people.” 

  Over the years, Callan has also sung the national anthem for players who are from outside of the country.

  “It’s been really exciting to do and the fans expect it now and it’s become kind of a thing,” Callan said.

  Callan said this tradition started when he noticed how Ruth Hamlin, a Canadian player from the national team, stood for the United States’ national anthem every game. 

  “I’ve been a singer my whole life,” Callan said. “I like the Canadian anthem, but I’ve never sung it. So I said, I’m gonna sing the anthem for Ruth.” 

  Afterward, another Canadian player, Colby Orum, requested that he sing the Canadian anthem again for her senior day game. Since then, Callan has sung the German anthem, the Polish anthem and the Serbian anthem.

  “It was nothing that I intended to happen, but it’s happened and it’s been really exciting and fun to do,” Callan said.