09/09/18 — COLLEGE SPORTS: TSN allows followers to view UMO contests from any location

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COLLEGE SPORTS: TSN allows followers to view UMO contests from any location

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 9, 2018 3:05 AM



MOUNT OLIVE -- Can't attend a University of Mount game this season?

Don't fret.

Grab your iPhone, iPad, laptop or sit at your desktop and watch the Trojan Sports Network from the comfort of home.

TSN will provide a full-production webcast that includes play-by-play and color commentary for every home athletic contest. Fans can view instant replays and see live sideline reporting -- pre-game, halftime and postgame.

The network is almost entirely run by UMO students.

Ryan Smith, director of athletics communication, finds recruits in his sport communication class and receives referrals from coaches and other student workers about who will be a good addition to his staff.

"I have very high standards for our broadcasting students as I want our Trojan Sports Network broadcasts to not only be the best in Conference Carolinas and the Southeast region, but for our fans to believe they are watching an ESPN-like broadcast," Smith said.

Conference Carolinas and UMO has partnered with BlueFrame Technologies to expand the school's broadcasting presence. A new Conference Carolinas Digital Network has been created, which has allowed TSN to include more on-air graphics (lineups, halftime and postgame stats), in-depth scoreboards and smoother streaming services to Trojan fans.

Smith hopes to add additional cameras to UMO broadcast to give viewers multiple looks from the game.

"That technology is a work in progress," Smith said.

Over the last year, TSN has hired NASCAR MRN Radio personality Alex Hayden to do play-by-play broadcasts. A native of Indianapolis and resident of Goldsboro, Hayden has also spent time working with the young up-and-coming broadcasters.

Abby Labar, an N.C. State grad, has joined the Trojans' crew along with Syracuse alum Michael Lehr.

Labar still works for the Wolfpack, handling sideline reporting duties for 247sports/CBSSports.com. She is the In-Arena host for the Carolina Hurricanes. Lehr is broadcasting and media relations coordinator for the Aberdeen Ironbirds, a short-season Class Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles baseball organization.

Smith contends that most people underestimate the caliber of production that comes from a small Division II school like Mount Olive, still regarded as eastern North Carolina's "best kept secret" among collegiate athletics programs.

"They come in very raw, take everything I ask of them, trust me and do an incredible job," Smith said. "What I enjoy most is watching them learn new sports out of their comfort zones and sell the last-second buzzer beaters, walk-offs and game-winners. Seeing the reactions on their faces when we use those clips from the broadcast on social media is priceless.

"The students deserve all the credit and when they see the fruits of all of their hard work pay off in a "great call," that's when I'm the proudest."

It's undoubtedly the essence of the Trojan Sports Network.