Rookies Again At the Craig James Broadcast School, players tackle the basics of a whole new ball game

March 12, 2001

A headset on his bald head and a sheepish grin on his face,
Broncos defensive back Terrell Buckley is proving too reserved
for Spencer Tillman's Game Broadcast class. "T-Buck, when you're
on the field, you don't lack confidence," says Fox Sports Net's
Tillman, an instructor at the Craig James Broadcast School for
pro athletes, the 14th edition of which was held recently in
Dallas. "You have to transfer that in here." So prodded, Buckley
watches a tape of Ravens cornerback Duane Starks's interception
return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXV and then crisply breaks
the play down, showing that it was triggered by Starks's tapping
his right leg--a signal for the safety to cover deep while Starks
broke for the ball.

Buckley was one of the nine matriculants (all current or former
football players) at the $4,000 two-day course that gives
instruction in game announcing, studio work, field reporting and
writing. The session's star pupil proved to be Dolphins wideout
Lamar Thomas (above), who showed a flamboyant style and a natural
ease on camera. After his playing career, Thomas says, "I want to
do sideline."

CBS NFL analyst James, a former Patriots running back,
established the school in 1993. Among his instructors are
Tillman and ESPN's Chris Fowler. Fifteen James graduates hold
national broadcasting jobs, including ESPN's Merril Hoge and
CBS's Charles Mann. "These guys have experience that Al Michaels
and Dick Enberg will never have," says James of his charges.
"It's our job to get that across."

--John O'Keefe

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)