FanShot

'01 Syracuse Grad Catalon remains on the rise at CBS

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Andrew Catalon made the bold move in July of leaving the security of his WNYT (NBC-13) sports anchor job, which he held for 91/2 years, to move into play-by-play broadcasting full-time. His duties with the CBS Sports Network, along with a side trip to Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Olympics, has kept him moving more than any Newschannel 13 duties ever did. Catalon, who still lives in Albany, adds another high-profile assignment this week as he calls NCAA Basketball Tournament games Friday and Sunday in San Diego for CBS and the Turner Sports group. New York Andrew Catalon made the bold move in July of leaving the security of his WNYT (NBC-13) sports anchor job, which he held for 91/2 years, to move into play-by-play broadcasting full-time. His duties with the CBS Sports Network, along with a side trip to Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Olympics, has kept him moving more than any Newschannel 13 duties ever did. Catalon, who still lives in Albany, adds another high-profile assignment this week as he calls NCAA Basketball Tournament games Friday and Sunday in San Diego for CBS and the Turner Sports group. "It's crazy to think that eight months ago that I still worked there," said Catalon, a New Jersey native who is married to Jessica Layton, a news anchor at the station. "It feels like I've been away for almost five years, the way these last eight months have gone. I loved my time at NYT, but the last eight months was more than I could have asked for." Among his roles since signing a two-year contract in August: Host of "PGA Championship Clubhouse Report" on CBSSN. Arena Football League championship game on CBS (broadcast network). Lead voice for CBSSN college football, including the Mountain West Conference title game for CBS. Play-by-play for three late-season NFL games on CBS. Curling play-by-play in the Winter Olympics for the NBC Sports Group. Lead voice for college basketball, including the Mountain West Conference title game for CBS. "There's room for him to keep moving up," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said last week at an NCAA media seminar. "He's going to do some college football for us. He's going to do some NFL football for us this coming season, and obviously some college basketball. He has a bright future." Since his return from the Olympics, which was taxing enough, Catalon has been gathering frequent-flier miles as he bounces around the country covering college basketball. One of his biggest career tasks comes Friday, when he and Mike Gminski, the former Duke center who has been a basketball analyst for 18 years, work four second-round telecasts in a 10-hour window. "I asked people the first time I did it," said Gminski, who called his first NCAA Tournament in 2004, "and they said, 'I really can't explain it to you. It's something you have to go through.' You have to find your pacing and find your voice." Catalon, a 2001 Syracuse graduate, and Gminski got to work one regular-season game together, a March 8 telecast for CBS in which Oregon upset third-ranked Arizona. "I'm impressed with his professionalism, how he was prepared," Gminski said. "I worked with Tim Brando for 10 years and still do work with him down in the ACC, and Andrew's a completely different style from Tim. I've worked with guys like him. It's going to be a great partnership." "He's very easy to work with," Catalon said. "We were on the same page." Catalon, 34, will find himself with many analysts in the near future. He will rotate with Ari Wolfe, a former broadcaster for the Albany Firebirds and Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, on Arena football play-by-play for CBSSN. He returns to Augusta next month to work the Masters "Featured Group" channel and also will be host of "Masters On The Range" on CBSSN. "He's a great member of the crew, gets along with everyone," said CBS Sports president David Berson, who oversees the CBS Sports Network. "He puts the time in and truly treats it like what you want out of a play-by-play guy, just serving as a point guard and getting the most out of an analyst and making the whole team better." Berson said he is pleased that Catalon has parlayed his CBSSN duties into bigger assignments. Catalon's history with the CBS "family" goes back to 2010, when he did play-by-play on the network's 3D telecasts of the U.S. Open tennis championships. "I met people then, worked with producers, and now I'm working with all these same people again at CBS and CBS Sports Network," Catalon said. "The familiarity that I've had with these people and getting to build relationships has really helped." Asked what he likes about Catalon's work, McManus said, "He has a good call, a good sense of humor, plays very well off of the analyst. Most of the play-by-play guys make their analysts better. He's unselfish in terms of not being afraid to let the analyst play a dominant role sometimes. "He's quick, and he's got a pleasant but good play-by-play call. He's earnest. He wants to get better. He works hard. He's always prepared. He's got all of the qualifications that you want in an up-and-coming future star." Pete Dougherty is the Times Union's sports TV/radio columnist • pdougherty@timesunion.com • 518-454-5416 • @Pete_Dougherty

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