Communications alumnus named sideline reporter for OU football
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Chris Plank also hosts the Buzz Sports Radio show on AM-1430 in Tulsa.
Chris Plank (BA ’97) found his true calling while pursuing his undergraduate degree at The University of Tulsa and has parlayed his love of communications and sports into a successful career with a new twist.
Plank, programming director at KTBZ-AM1430 (the Buzz Sports Radio) and KAKC-AM1300, had been hosting sports radio talk shows for more than a decade when the University of Oklahoma named him the sideline reporter for Sooner football in June 2011. And although he’ll be in Norman and on the road throughout the college football season, Plank said he and his family – wife, Sarah (BS ’03), and children, William and Emma – have no intentions of leaving Tulsa.
Plank first set foot in Oklahoma in 1993 after graduating from high school in Wood River, Illinois. TU had recruited students from that area, and Plank said he and a friend thought coming to Tulsa would be a fun challenge. The bad news? His friend went back home a week later. The good news? Plank fell in love with TU.
“The University of Tulsa has been a integral part of my growth as a person and a professional,” he said. Plank majored in communications and chose to participate in a work-study program in the Golden Hurricane’s sports information office. “That’s where I gained my experience and my love of sports blossomed.”
Don Tomkalski, associate athletics director for communications, remembers Plank as a hard-working student who wanted to learn the ropes. “Chris was a bright and eager student and was able to put his education into action through his work-study program in our office,” he said.
After finishing his degree, he was hired by Harry Willis (BS ’72, BA ’80) as a salesman at Willis’ media services company. That job allowed Plank to work as a part-time producer at AM1430.
Plank credits Tomkalski and Willis as mentors who helped him realize his dream of sports broadcasting. From there, it was just a matter of time; Plank was given the chance to host his own weekend radio show and cover local sporting events, including TU athletics.
Plank began his relationship with OU doing play-by-play for basketball. In April 2011, he was tapped for sideline duty during the spring football game, which led to his new post.
Much of football season will be spent with the Sooners, but Plank plans to continue his radio show, keeping listeners up to speed on national sports as well as area high school games and, of course, Golden Hurricane athletics.
“I just love TU,” he said. “It’s incredible to think about where the campus is now compared with when I arrived almost 20 years ago. To see what’s happened with the performance center, new programs, student housing – I just have a lot of pride. I’m glad I made the decision to come to TU.”