Mark Minner wanted to go into sportscasting for a long time.
The 2008 Barrington High School graduate would attend sporting events growing up with his father Don and wondered what it would be like to be close to the action even if he wasn't playing the sport.
While a student at Roslyn Elementary in Barrington, he started to commentate while watching sporting events and home movies.
When he got to high school, his interest became a reality.
Barrington's Educational Foundation had invested in a new TV station.
Minner started taking the classes that were offered in his junior year.
He fell in love with it and the TV studio became a second home outside the baseball diamond, where Minner played for the varsity team as a junior and senior.
Little did he know his future home would be in the Indianapolis area where he now serves as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Butler men's basketball team.
Minner has served as a halftime, postgame and studio host for the Butler Basketball Radio Network for the past three years.
This season, he succeeded Brandon Gaudin, the new Georgia Tech football and men's basketball play-by-play voice.
Minner also served as the primary voice for Butler football webcasts of the six home games on ButlerSports.com.
He had done the play-by-play for selected road webcasts in 2012 for the Pioneer Football League champions.
In his last two years as a Butler student, Minner worked on videos for the school's TV station and reported for the Fox Chicago affiliate.
"A couple people have been very instrumental for me," Minner said. "First and foremost, Corey McPherrin has been as good a mentor as I could of asked for. I met him my senior year in high school, and he turned me on to Butler. He also helped connect me to my first summer internship between freshman and sophomore years in college with the Kane County Cougars."
Minner worked two years for Kane County and met the Cougars lead play-by-play man Jeff Hem, who is currently in the Triple-A voice for the Nashville Sounds.
"My job was the number 2 broadcaster for those two summers and Jeff taught me a lot about how to call baseball and the power of radio," Minner said. "Also, Brandon Gaudin asked me to be the studio host for the radio broadcasts while I was a junior in college. I did that for three amazing years at Butler, and it is what ultimately helped me have the good fortune of being named play-by-play broadcaster in the summer."
Minner also met Dan Shulman, an ESPN broadcaster through Brett Schwartz, a TV teacher at Barrington High School.
"He introduced us which led to a great mentoring relationship with Dan," Minner said. "I've met with him over the last six years occasionally, and that has been very impactful from a national level. Dan is about as solid a broadcaster you're going to find across radio or TV and whichever sport he is doing."
Minner graduated from Butler in 2012, with a major in broadcasting and marketing. The 23-year-old also does side work for Turner Sports/NCAA championships.
"Mark has been a key piece of our Athletic Department since he enrolled at Butler five years ago," said Associate Athletic Director Mike Freeman prior to the school year. "He has great talent as a broadcaster and is an incredibly driven person. Teaming Mark with color analyst Nick Gardner will keep our broadcasts at a passionate and professional level that our fans are used to."
As an undergraduate, Minner was the women's basketball play-by-play voice for Butler webcasts all four seasons. He was the host of the Bulldog Blitz show produced by BU students, and he also did play-by-play for soccer and volleyball webcasts.
Minner has a full-time time position at FirstPerson, leading an account team in implementing strategies around benefits and employee engagement for a group of clients.
Hallberg on Collins
If senior Brittany Collins scores 58 more points this season, Saint Xavier women's basketball coach Bob Hallberg will have the all-time leading scorer at Maine West on his roster this season.
Hallberg already believes Collins has all the skill sets and talent to make an immediate impact as a freshman next season.
"Brittany is a huge signing for our program," Hallberg said on the school's website. "To land a player of her talent level from a tremendous high school program speaks volumes.
"It shows that all the work that our coaches and players have put into building this program over the years has paid off, because the top players want to come to Saint Xavier and compete for a national championship."
Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (Rolling Meadows) is one of three players who have been invited to the announcement of the 27th Walter Payton Award.
The other two candidates are running back Terrance West of Towson and quarterback Vernon Adams of Eastern Washington.
The Payton award is given to the outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision and considered the Heisman Trophy of the former Division I-AA level.
The winner will be announced at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation on Dec. 16 in Philadelphia.
Garoppolo becomes the third Eastern Illinois player that will finish among the top three in the nation for the Payton Award.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo won the award in 2002 while Tim Lance placed third in voting in 1990 as a defensive back.
Garoppolo was selected as the Ohio Valley Conference weekly award winner seven times, tying the conference record.
"Jimmy has had the best season from a college quarterback that I have ever seen, with the exception of maybe Robert Griffin when he won the Heisman at Baylor," said EIU coach Dino Babers. "He is the engine that makes us go."
Garoppolo has collected numerous season and career records both at EIU and in the OVC.
In the regular season, Eastern Illinois was 11-1 and won a second straight outright conference title.
Garoppolo ranked first in the FCS in passing yards (4,489), passing yards per game (374.1) and touchdown passes (48), second in total offense (377.9 yards per game) and points responsible for (25.8 per game), third in passing efficiency (170.6), and fourth in completions per game (26.7).
• The proceeds from this year's rivalry football game between Dubuque and Loras College (the Key City Clash) were presented to 'Opening Doors: Maria House & Teresa Shelter'.
Opening Doors operates two programs for homeless women, alone or with children.
The 2013 donation marks the sixth consecutive year the two schools have given back to the Dubuque community. The schools donated a check for $2,500 to Opening Doors on Dec. 4.
Loras senior defensive lineman Will Tumberger (St. Viator) of Mt. Prospect was one of the presenters for Augustana. Tumberger was one of the top tacklers for the Vikings this season with 48.
Concordia (Wis.) freshman forward Veronika Metanova of Palatine scored 2 goals and added an assist in leading the Falcons to a 5-2 win over Marian.
The 3 points were a career best for Metanova and her second goal went down as the game-winner, giving Concordia a big conference win.
Schaumburg volleyball clinic
An upcoming sixth to eighth-grade coed volleyball clinic will be held Jan. 3 and 4 from noon to 2 p.m. at Schaumburg High School.
Cost is $25 and athletes should register by Friday, Dec. 20.
Information along registration and waiver forms are available on the Schaumburg High School Athletic website.
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