PHS ‘Sports in American Culture’ students interview Tony Caridi
PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University radio play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi took part in an online interview, taking questions from Parkersburg High School students on Tuesday.
As part of PHS teacher Samuel Vincent’s “Sports in American Culture” class, students had the opportunity to learn a little bit of the backstory of Caridi and ask questions about his thoughts during his tenure as the radio announcer for WVU, the current men’s basketball team and career advice as well.
Caridi talked about being raised by Italian immigrant parents in Lockport, N.Y., going to college at the State University of New York at Geneseo and graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcasting.
He got his first job in the state as a radio news anchor in 1984, before ending up as the “Voice of the Mountaineers” for the football and men’s basketball teams, starting in 1997.
Some of the questions asked by the students were his favorite memory of WVU athletics, winning sports broadcaster of the year, how media has changed during his 37-year broadcasting career, whether he preferred calling football or basketball games and other WVU and other sports-related questions.
Offered as an elective to students, Caridi is the third broadcaster to take part in the Q&A project, joining ESPN college football analyst Mike Golic and Fox Sports rules analyst Dean Blandino in speaking with Vincent’s students.
Caridi gave out advice to the students, saying that there is no such thing as a bad job experience as they have to try multiple avenues to find a field they have the most passion in. Caridi said that while he wanted to be a sportscaster upon graduating from college, he did jobs in newscasting just to gain experience.
“Don’t forget that in order to find your passion, you’re going to have to stick your toe into a bunch of different pools to find out. The point is that there’s no bad experience, there are only experiences that you are going to learn from,” Caridi said. “So if you think you may be interested in something and you dabble in that and go, ‘Oh, that’s not exactly what I thought it was,’ that’s not bad. Don’t get bummed out by that, just be like, ‘Okay, I learned more about myself. That’s not for me.'”
Caridi said the pandemic was the toughest obstacle students would face in their life and will make them more resilient once they graduate from high school.
“You guys have been put into a different deal that no one else has ever experienced. But I do think there’s a plus side of that, I think that what we’ve all gone through will be something that you’ll never have to deal with again,” Caridi said. ” I think that you can always look back at this point in your life and say if I was able to get through this, I can deal with anything. I think from an encouragement standpoint, you’re going to be rock-solid strong saying ‘I dealt with that, other obstacles I can get through.'”