SAN JOSE, Calif. – Tune in to a University of Cincinnati Bearcats basketball broadcast sometime and you will hear one of the most unique sign-offs in the radio biz.
Play-by-play man Dan Hoard ends his broadcast saying, “For my partner, Chuck Machock, who tonight successfuly extended his consecutive game streak without being ejected to (444) and counting.”
What’s with Hoard’s special saying? Why does a radio color man need a Simpsons-like accident counter? The answers lead back to a 2003 contest between Gonzaga and UC, which at the time was coached by Bob Huggins, now the coach at West Virginia, who will again face the Zags on Thursday in the Sweet 16.
The Bulldogs and Mountaineers met in a physical first-round NCAA Tournament game. Referee Mike Kitts gave Huggins the heave-ho early in the second half, which presented some problems.
“Go sit in one of those locker rooms for a half and see how you like it,” Huggins said. “They don’t put a TV in there. Nothing. I mean, our orthopedic surgeon was coming in and telling me, you know, what the score was. And then the NCAA people came in and said you can’t do that because I was sending messages back out.”
Here is what Huggins missed.
Machock, the radio broadcast color man, and Huggins go way back. Machock was an assistant coach at WVU when Huggins played there. When Machock was the assistant coach at Central Florida, he hired Huggins as an assistant coach. Then when Huggins was first hired at UC, he brought Machock along as an assistant.
So even though Machock’s father was an official for the Big Ten conference (Huggins says, “A lot of the guys we had, his dad broke them in to officiating”), when Kitts tossed Huggins, it got personal.
“Kitts came right next to where we were to put the ball in play,” Hoard recalls. “Chuck did what he shouldn’t have done – took his headphones off and stood up on press row and said his piece.
“Kitts kind of stood there, listening to it, and just before putting the ball back in play he does a half turn and says, ‘If you keep it up, I’m going to toss you out, too.’
“Well, that’s all Chuck needed to hear. He kept yelling and during a TV timeout I looked across to the other side of the floor and saw some security guys pointing in our direction,” Hoard added. “I had a hunch it was not good news.”
Keep in mind, there were hot mics all around for Machok’s verbal assault. There is some controversy among the reports of the event whether or not he said anything inappropriate for public consumption.
Some of those within earshot contend Machok hurled the insult that begins “Sonova..,” which led to his eventual ejection. But Hoard says his language never got that salty.
“Now, are you supposed to stand up on press row and take off your headphones and yell at an official? No, and that can get you kicked out,” Hoard said. “But I did not hear bad language.”
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