News Item

Once A Bearcat, Now A Bengal

January 07, 2016

Lander graduate Chris Blair, the voice of the Georgia Southern University Eagles for the last 10 years, has been named director of radio broadcasting for Louisiana State University.

Chris Blair Booth Shot

     He’ll take over play-by-play duties beginning with this year’s baseball season opener, succeeding longtime announcer Jim Hawthorne, who will retire following the men’s basketball season.

     Blair, a native of Kentucky, whose family moved to Simpsonville when he was in high school, emerged from a crowded field to claim one of the most coveted jobs in sports.

     He’s the first play-by-play man from a state other than Louisiana that the Bayou Bengals have ever hired.

     “Chris Blair is a rising star, and we are excited to bring him to LSU as the next Voice of the Tigers,” LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva said.

     Blair grew up in a broadcasting family, working for his father, Steve, and listening to some of the great announcers of the day: Cawood Ledford, of Kentucky; John Ward, of Tennessee; Bob Fulton, of South Carolina; and Jim Phillips, of Clemson.

     While a student at Lander, he had an opportunity to do some high school sports broadcasts for Hillcrest High, in Simpsonville. “It was very addictive. I soon realized that my career goal and dream was to represent a major Division I athletic program,” he said.

     Other broadcasting jobs followed. He handled play-by-play for Greenwood High School football from 1998 to 2004. For the first four years that Lander fielded a baseball team, Blair was the voice. From 2001 to 2004, he called Lander’s men’s basketball games. During the same time, he contributed to coverage of Clemson Tiger football.

     Blair’s skills made him an attractive candidate when GSU was looking for a new announcer, but now they’re in another league. His responsibilities as general manager of Georgia Southern Sports Properties include hosting weekly radio shows for football and basketball, and the television show for football, in addition to his duties on game days. He’s also in charge of sound presentation on the air and the Internet, as well as network marketing and affiliate relations.

     Blair’s voice stands out. His signature touchdown call, “Put an Eagle six on it,” has become part of the vernacular at Georgia Southern, which uses it in hashtags and game prompts.

    “I work to be very descriptive in the radio broadcast to help paint those pictures in the minds of listeners,” he said, adding that he pays close attention to the “field markers, the colors, the details that the camera provides on television.”

     To this day, Blair would rather listen to a big game on the radio than watch it on TV.

     The key to success, as far as Blair is concerned, is “having a passion for your job, no matter what it is. People can detect true passion, and most I have met like it when they see or hear it,” he said.

     Political science — his major at Lander — might seem like unusual preparation for a career in broadcasting, but Blair, a 2004 graduate, has a different view.

     “The study of politics can be applied to any company, industry or organization. The understanding of politics, and why people and groups operate in the ways that they do, serves me well, even inside a collegiate athletic department,” he said.

     He credits Lander with exposing him to “ideas, cultures and people that I otherwise would have known nothing about.” Learning from and about people from elsewhere in the world, he said, “was extremely valuable to me as an individual and part of the reason I still hold that liberal arts education is very important and relevant to the modern world.”

     Ironically, the first game that Blair calls for LSU will be against the Bearcats — of Cincinnati.

     He said that he, his wife, Dr. Amber Anders Blair, their son, Crafton Christopher, and daughter, Rivers Elisabeth, “are very excited to be heading to Baton Rouge.” He called it “a dream come true.”