I will be totally honest; the first time I ever heard Jim Reynolds broadcast a UTC sporting event, back in 1981, I didn’t really like him. I didn’t know him at all, but I thought his work on the air was rather bland to say the least. After all, he was a young announcer from Illinois who seemed to be very accurate, but his style was something I wasn’t really accustomed to hearing. After listening to many of his broadcasts of Mocs’ football and basketball games for the past 32 years, I have finally reached a conclusion; this guy is very, very, good.
Last week, J.R. reached a milestone that few sports announcers ever achieve. He was behind the mic for his 1,000th UTC basketball game. That’s pretty special. And at the still young age of 57, he has plenty of announcing left to do.
Announcing sporting events is just one of his many talents however. He has hosted “The Village Idiots” program on WGOW-FM for a long while as well as sharing the studio each morning with Jeff Styles and Kevin West. J.R. has also done a lot of television play-by-play, as well as hosting the UTC coaches’ shows. He is also a TSSAA High School Baseball Umpire in the spring, and we had the chance to work together a few times. He is a very good official who hustles on each and every play. His level of professionalism on the baseball diamond is every bit as evident as it is in his radio and television broadcasts.
In the first game we worked together, three years ago, it was a running joke among the coaches and fans that two sportscasters would do a terrible job umpiring a middle school baseball game. One guy even said one of us would try to “outdo” the other in terms of “showboating” our calls. That didn’t happen, and the game was very well officiated. One thing you can say however; you didn’t have to guess what our calls were. He and I both made it very clear if a player was out or safe.
Jim Reynolds has another very distinct talent. He has fathered six daughters and I always wondered if he really knew what was causing those pregnancies. I know of no other male friend who has fathered six girls. Raising girls is more expensive than raising boys. I had one of each and I know. You have to pay college tuition for six kids, which costs on the average of $23,000.00 a year, per kid at a state or public school. (It costs $43,000.00 per year at private schools.) If J.R.’s daughters all chose public universities for their college education it would cost a grand total of just over a half-million dollars for a four-year degree. If he had raised six boys, those costs would be maybe a little less, because girls cost more than boys.
Then, there are weddings. The parents of the bride pay for the nuptials, which cost on the average of $26,000.00. Multiply that total by six, and J.R. would be forced to spend another $156,000.00 to walk his precious daughters down the aisle. Add everything up and it totals almost $700,000.00. No wonder he is good at many different jobs. The man needs a lot of money!
Seriously now, J.R. has been a good friend for many, many, years. We have traveled together, covering UTC sporting events, shared a few meals together, and I always enjoyed his company. He is a professional in every sense, and I congratulate him for his 1000thUTC broadcast. Like other Mocs’ fans, I look forward to many more broadcasts with J.R. behind the microphone.
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).