Dave Pasch is the radio voice of the Arizona Cardinals football team and calls college football games for ESPN. More importantly, Dave is a committed believer in Christ and faithful husband to Hallie and father to Lexi, Zuzu, and Zeke (ages 8, 5, and 9 months). Prior to joining the Cardinals, Dave called football and basketball games for Syracuse University. He is also a 1994 alumnus of Syracuse. Dave’s background includes work with Chicago Blackhawks hockey franchise and the Buffalo Bills of the NFL.
How did you get started in sports broadcasting?
My main purpose for going to Syracuse University was to get involved with broadcasting; it’s a really good broadcast school. They have a student radio station that has had guys like Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Dick Stockton, Dave O’Brien and Sean McDonough these guys had all worked at the station.
I’m guessing you were able to work at the station, too.
They usually pick about two to four people a year from each class to get on the air. I got on the air my freshman year. It was a student station but they did football, basketball, and lacrosse. What really helped me was the hands on experience. In our business they listen to how you sound and what your tape is like. It was really important to do that hands on work.
What do you do to prepare for a game?
Do you have a particular routine?
Basketball is a lot easier to prepare for. There are fewer players, so there are fewer names and numbers to memorize. Talking with coaches and players, getting notes on players. Reading newspaper clips and press notes. With ESPN we talk each week with the coaches and get backgrounds with the players. So we can do a good job of telling the stories, not just the football stuff.
What do you do with your time in between games?
Is preparation a full time job?
Oh yeah. Tuesday we have interviews with the road team, so you prepare for them. Wednesday is travel day. Thursday we meet with the home coaches. Friday is the game, with a production meeting in the morning, and Saturday is traveling home or traveling to wherever the Cardinals are.
Do you get recognized around town often?
Not really. It’s happened. More so they hear the voice, then I’ll say my name.
How did you come to know Christ?
I’m Jewish, was raised in a Jewish home, by ancestry, but that’s about it. When I met my wife in 1994 she talked about Christ. I was interested in her. I investigated Christianity because of that. My daughter was sprinkled in the Methodist church when she was born and I was sprinkled then, too. There was no repentance; Jesus was not my Lord. My lifestyle didn’t represent the fruits of a true convert. I was a false convert.
So what was the turning point?
In 2001 I was doing a college basketball game on the road (Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State), on radio. I picked up a book in the airport that talked about sin and judgment and God’s holiness. That was not being taught at the church I was attending. When I realized the error of my ways I repented and came to faith. We moved to Chandler about a year later, and I was baptized at Chandler Christian Church.
How did you find Chandler Christian Church?
We just drove by it. In Syracuse we were going to a Methodist church, then we started going to an Assembly of God church. The biggest thing that attracted us to the church was they were teaching the Word of God. These days churches focus on music and all kinds of other things, not always preaching the whole counsel of God.
Have you been able to connect on a spiritual level with others in your profession?
There are not a lot of believers in this field, so when you find them it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. I was at the ESPN college football meetings last year and God just put it on my heart to put out a monthly message to a group of Christian broadcasters on air people, producers, directors, camera people, and others who are believers. We all need encouragement, especially in this business. It’s always hard to witness to a stranger, but it’s much harder with the people you work with. You have to invest in those relationships to love them and also for encouragement.
I think we all need encouragement. We’re the body of Christ. We can all be used. Romans 1:12 talks about being “mutually encouraged” in each other’s faith. It’s easy to live the comfortable Christian life, to not be in the Word, to not disciple. I’m no different than any other Christian. I would appreciate any prayers about being bold for the Lord. We all have an obligation, that command from Christ to open our mouths for him.
Dave Pasch is available to speak at ministry events about his study of more than 100 athletes, what they think about God, and how it compares to the truth of the Bible. Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Brad Dupray is senior vice president, investor development, with Church Development Fund, Irvine, California.