His voice is immediately recognizable to sports fans around the globe. This morning, nearly 100 Concordia University Wisconsin students got to put a face to that famous voice when Wayne Larrivee visited campus for the Executive on Campus event.
Hosted by Concordia’s Sport and Hospitality Business department, the Executive on Campus series annually brings industry leaders to campus to share their insights and expertise with students in the Sport and Entertainment Business (SEB) and Hospitality and Event Management (HEM) programs.
Students packed the Concordia Center for Environmental Stewardship for this year’s prominent guest.
In his 42nd consecutive year broadcasting NFL games, Larrivee is currently the radio voice for the Green Bay Packers. Prior to his run in Wisconsin he notably covered the Chicago Bears on WGN and WMAQ Radio from 1985 to 1998.
Larrivee is a highly decorated sports commentator. In 1997, he was named Illinois Sportscaster of the Year, and in 2011, he was honored as Communicator of the Year by the Wisconsin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He’s also a seven-time winner of the Silver Dome Award and a four-time winner of a Midwest Emmy.
Tuesday’s presentation was held in a Q&A format, with professor David Snieg and SEB student Sam Dunn serving as moderators.
Here are a few nuggets from Larrivee’s address:
On his pre-game ritual: “I usually drive up [to Lambeau Field] on Sunday mornings. I drive up I-43 and stop at Kwik Trip for a cream-filled doughnut and a 20 oz. cup of Karuba Coffee. The “breakfast of champions.”
On his famous catchphrase: “‘And there’s your dagger,’ really it’s a basketball term. When Michael Jordan would hit a jumper with 5 seconds left in the game and it would give the Bulls a 2-point lead, there’s the dagger.
I had never used it in football until 2001. The packers were playing the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau. In the fourth quarter, Green Bay had a 24-0 lead when Brett Favre threw a 21-yard touchdown pass, putting the Packers ahead 31-10 with just minutes to go. …
It just came out and it was just one of those things. When I didn’t use it in the following weeks, people would ask me, ‘What was the dagger play?’”
On this year’s team to beat: “Chicago is still the best team in the division, but Dallas to me looks to be a very good team this season. We’ve [The Packers] had great success in their stadium, but this is a very good Dallas team coming in.”
On what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a sports commentator: “I’d be living in the mountains selling real estate.”
On Larry McCarren: “Larry and I don’t hang out a lot together outside of game time. We don’t talk a lot during the week. Larry prefers for us to be spontaneous. …Larry, on air, makes our broadcast sing. I give a lot of credit to him for making us sound like we’re two best friends sitting in a bar.”
On the best stadium to call games: “Lambeau Field is still the best place to do a game. We’re just about on the 50-yard line. That’s the best place to call a game from. …In a lot of places, that’s not the case because that’s prime real estate. Those suites are money-makers.”
On losses hitting harder than victories: “Once [a team] wins, the expectation to win it again becomes paramount. It’s on to the next title, next challenge. It’s always the next one up. I find it very interesting how that mentality works. The moments the guys remember the most are not the wins, but the losses. You ask anyone on that ’85 Bears team, you talk to the guys today and they’ll tell you that their biggest regret is never getting back.
It’s funny how the memories of the victories are fleeting, but the failures stick with you forever. At least that’s what I’ve found with the athlete mentality.”
On career advice for students: “See your dream. Understand your dream. Live it. Don’t worry about the odds. Do everything you can to put yourself in the shoes of where you want to be. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done, and don’t let anyone tell you this is the one way to do it. Follow your dream, and try to live it.”