Milestone behind the mic

January 6, 2012

Dave Snell ’76 has been at the top of Bradley’s game – perched in a broadcast booth above every men’s basketball game – for more than 32 years. On Jan. 7 Snell, the “Voice of the Braves,” called his 1,000th Bradley basketball game for WMBD radio 1470 as the Braves took on No. 24 Creighton at Carver Arena.

From the former Robertson Memorial Field House, Carver Arena and athletic facilities across the nation, Snell has shared with fans the shining moments of Bradley legends like Hersey Hawkins and Mitchell “JJ” Anderson. In 2010, Snell joined those stars and others in the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame.

In recent years, Snell has split his time between the broadcast booth and the classroom, where students in Bradley’s one-of-a-kind sports communication program have the opportunity to learn play-by-play announcing from a seasoned veteran.

“When you look across the athletic landscape, few institutions have someone’s voice and personality as a distinctive and highly recognizable part of their brand,” said Dr. Michael Cross, Bradley University athletic director. “Dave Snell is just that person for Bradley and a true ambassador for the institution.”

Since his broadcasting debut on Nov. 30, 1979, when Bradley took on No. 2 Kentucky at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Snell has called some of the team’s most memorable moments. Highlights include the 1982 NIT championship against Purdue at Madison Square Garden, two Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championships, the longest game in NCAA men’s basketball history (seven overtimes against Cincinnati on Dec. 21, 1981), and the longest game-winning shot in college basketball postseason history.

Through it all, Snell has found career satisfaction not so much in the team’s wins or standout successes as in the intangible rewards of working closely with generations of players.

“The specifics of the games fade away, but the relationships and this time period that shape the student-athletes and what that means to the success of the rest of their lives is the story. That’s everything to me,” Snell told Bradley Hilltopics.

Snell was honored in a pre-game ceremony Saturday, immediately following the national anthem. The Braves fell to Creighton 92-83.

For more information about Snell’s career, read his biography on the Bradley Athletics website.