Opening Day

Photo by Duane Zehr

By Matt Hawkins
March 31, 2015

Charley Steiner ’71 HON '10 stepped to the podium and ceremonially tossed the first pitch for the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication on March 31. The celebration in Bradley’s Caterpillar Global Communication Center officially opened the nation’s first named sports communication school.

Tuesday’s festivities capped five years of growth for the sports communication program, which launched in 2009 and grew to 120 majors. The University in January announced the program would be named in honor of the four-time Emmy Award winner, National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and L.A. Dodgers play-by-play announcer.

“Charley is a big-time talent, an unparalleled storyteller, a tremendous friend to the University and a man of uncompromising ethics,” said Bradley President Joanne Glasser. “The Bradley community is forever appreciative to you for lending your good name, legendary by any measure of the word, to our leading sports communication program.” 

Steiner ranked the honor as one of his two most significant achievements in nearly 24,000 days of life. The other was the day legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully called Steiner, a lifelong Dodgers fan, with an invitation to join the team’s broadcast booth.

“Everyone should have a once-in-a-lifetime moment like that,” Steiner said. “Today, at this ceremony, on a hilltop, the Hilltop, I am having a second once-in-a-lifetime moment — two more than I could have ever expected, much less dreamed of, for which I am eternally grateful.”

Steiner called attention to Bradley’s rich sports communication history, noting sportscasters such as Jack Brickhouse, Chick Hearn and Ralph Lawler all have ties to Bradley. 

“I wouldn’t be here if Peoria, Bradley, central Illinois hadn’t been the proving ground for legendary broadcasters,” he said. “I am but a caboose on this high-speed train. My hope and expectation is that this train keeps chugging for years to come.”

In addition to the dedication ceremony, Steiner was interviewed for the first episode of “The Sports Program,” which is one of the new ventures funded through the Steiner School. Steiner’s gift allows Bradley to expand its offerings for expedition courses and internships as well as create symposiums and lectureships. 

Also at the dedication, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis presented a proclamation from the city acknowledging Steiner for his contribution to the University and the impact it will have on the community.