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Biofile Andy Katz Interview

Status: College basketball analyst for Big Ten Network and a college basketball correspondent for NCAA. Previously worked as senior college basketball journalist for ESPN and was a regular analyst on College GameNight on ESPN.

DOB: April 7, 1968 In: Newton, MA

First Broadcasting Memory: I was a senior in high school, December if 1985. I got cut from the basketball team. And so I went to the local Newton MA cable station. At the time they were not televising games. I made the pitch to do play-by-play of Newton North and Newton South high school games. I was the same year that Rumeal Robinson, who played for Michigan the year they won the NCAA title in 1989. So it ended up being games that involved him, because he played for Cambridge which was in the same league as Newton North. So I did games like that as a high school senior, doing play-by-play.

Inspirations: In that era, Al Michaels, Dick Stockton. It’s funny, a lot more play-by-play people, even though I don’t do play-by-play now. And even I’ll say, just because I listen to him all the time, Johnny Most, because I was a huge Celtics fan as a kid. I wasn’t trying to be Johnny Most. But just these were the people in my era that I listened to. And Tommy Heinsohn.

Last Book Read: That is my one fault [smiles] [laughs]. I’m not a good reader. I ingest information so I’ll be honest, I cannot remember the last book. I’ve been really bad about that. (Did you read Howard Cosell’s book?) I did. Oh and I will add Howard Cosell (as an inspiration). I did read that years ago.

First Famous Athlete You Met As A Kid: Hmmm…. interesting… I’m gonna really date myself here. Growing up in the 70s, we were big Bruins fans and I met – and I always remember this because I was little – was Wayne Cashman. (Where?) Somewhere near the Garden. I can’t remember where. The picture exists [smiles] of me and Wayne Cashman, who was one of the many Bruins in the 70s with Bobby Orr.

First Job: First real job in the industry… well I kind of blur it but I would still say it was the Milwaukee Journal senior year of college (at University of Wisconson-Madison). I wasn’t full-time but it was like full-time. While I was going to school, writing front page stories. So to me, that’s what I think of as my first job. But my real, real first job was at the Albuquerque Journal. Like full employee, the whole bit

Greatest Career Moment: Well, its 1 and 1A. So obviously the eight-year run of doing the (NCAA tournament) bracket with President Obama. An idea that I had that I asked him before he was President. So that’s eight years when I interviewed him, of doing that. And then two years ago of being on the set for March Madness with Ernie (Johnson), Charles (Barkley) and Kenny (Smith).

Most Painful Moment: Oh no question… being laid off by ESPN in 2017. And painful is a good word. Because ‘I thought’ I was one of the few people who wasn’t angry. I was more hurt. So there was pain involved. Not anger.

Funny Career Memory: Oh… I’ve had a few slip ups… But you can just google it. NBA Draft. One year I’m part of – I’ll say it PG-wise – I’m part of the famous Steve Levy, the bulging discs quip but I didn’t say quips [laughs]. So that was the NBA Draft.

Favorite Interview Subjects: Obviously interviewing President Obama as much as I did… I’ve been very fortunate in basketball. I’ve interviewed the majority of stars in the last twenty years. I would say I remember being one of the first people to interview Lebron James when he was a high school sophomore in Las Vegas, Durango HS. Just so young, which he was, interviewing him then and now, seeing what has happened years and years later. It’s unbelievable. It’s one of the most amazing stories. Obviously the talent is unmatched. You just see where he was, to becoming a billionaire. It’s remarkable.

Favorite Movie: I’m gonna surprise you here… my favorite movie of all time was Cinema Paradiso. I just love that movie.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: I don’t eat dairy right now but it’s still chocolate a non-dairy chocolate [smiles].

Favorite Sports: Well, it’s basketball and tennis actually.

Favorite Athletes To Watch: Rafa (Nadal). I’m amazed. I’ll block out four-five hours to watch his matches. Just love watching him compete. I think he’s arguably the toughest competitor in all of sports. (You didn’t read his book?) My son did and that’s why I need to [smiles].

Childhood Dream: Well, it was to play basketball. And then someday it was to cover sports so I would argue I’m still living it.

Embarrassing Career Memory: I would say back to bulging discs.

Favorite Artists: I’ve been a die-hard U2 fan for decades.

Favorite Broadcaster Today: Ernie Johnson. To me, he is one of the best humans that I ever met. He’s a tremendous broadcaster. Feel honored to call him a friend and to work with him. But still, I just think he’s the best.

People Qualities Most Admired: Humility. Kindness. Not enough people that are kind today.

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