Chuck Checks In: Chicago Edition!
Bulls fans, say hello (again) to Chuck Swirsky! The team’s new radio play-by-play man, shown above with his wife, Judy, will become a familiar voice over the air and right here at Bulls.com.
Posted by Chuck Swirsky | 05.08.08 | 11:16 a.m. CT
Welcome to our first installment of Chuck Checks In or CCI: Chicago!
In Toronto, I posted a daily blog of NBA thoughts and opinions, and answered e-mails pertaining to the team or the league in general, including non-basketball items of interest, at Raptors.com. I love to interact with fans and that will certainly be the case here in Chicago with the Bulls.
My goal is to include you as often as I can with questions/answers on the site and during our radio broadcasts. In fact, when October rolls around, I want to solicit requests from you to enter your name and community for a three-ball shout out. When the first Bulls' player nails a three-point field goal I will announce:
"Ring it up from downtown [player’s name]; that goes to [your name!] listening tonight on ESPN 1000!"
It proved to be a popular element to our programming in Toronto. I want you to feel ownership of CCI: Chicago. Any suggestions are welcomed.
I'm excited to see whom John Paxson will select as the team's head coach. Some great candidates are out there. Mike D'Antoni and Avery Johnson are two men of great character and integrity. You can't go wrong with either gentleman. If a team is looking for a top-tier assistant, coach Tom Thibodeau of Boston is on everyone's "A" list.
It's a crazy coaching world. Salaries for head coaches have skyrocketed and you can thank the Nets for that when they elected to sign John Calipari to a fat contract in the late 1990s. But, remember, too often teams hope to win the "press conference" instead of the nuts and bolts of coaching, leading and demanding consistency.
I am delighted to be returning to Chicago, broadcasting Chicago Bulls basketball games on ESPN 1000. The signal itself, 1000 on the AM band is where it, all started for me in 1979 when I hosted a five hour sports talk program on WCFL. It seems like yesterday I was covering Artis Gilmore, Ricky Sobers, Reggie Theus, and a guy by the name of Michael Jordan. I saw the glory years and the lean years.
As some of you may remember, I served as the Bulls' public address announcer in the early 1980s and, during those years, wins were few and far between. One evening, David Greenwood approached me at the scorer's table and said, "Chuck, you better do yourself a favor. How about introducing the crowd .Then you can get around to us."
But I loved every moment of the "rebuilding" years before MJ, Scottie, Pax and company arrived. You see, I am a certified gym rat. I love basketball. I love the NBA. I love sellout arenas. I love everything about the game.
Before I formally introduce myself to you, I would like to thank Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for allowing me to return to Chicago. Toronto Raptors ownership and management are class people. It was a pleasure working for them and with them. I will never say one negative word about my ten years in Canada. It was a pleasure.
Returning to Chicago is a tremendous blessing. I worked in Chicago for fifteen years. I met my wife Judy in 1990 in Wheaton. Our two oldest children, T.C. (16) and Kara (14), were born in DuPage County. I love the city of Chicago. When I think of Chicago sports fans, one word stands out: Passion. I love it.
I had the good fortune of calling DePaul University basketball games ranging from the days of Terry Cummings to Tom Kleinschmidt. On nights I wasn't a substitute play-by-play man, I anchored pre-, half and post-game shows and worked closely with the legendary Ray Meyer, who was one of the greatest men I have ever met. I learned a lot from "Coach." He was humble and caring. How could you not love the guy? He was in a class by himself.
Professionally, calling NBA basketball is a dream come true. Growing up in Seattle, I would memorize the NBA directory full of names, teams and stats. I would take a transistor radio to bed with me at night and hear the call from KGO in San Francisco with Bill King's descriptive style of Warriors play-by-play basketball.
Working with Bill Wennington, and being a part of the Bulls broadcasting team with Neil Funk, Stacey King and the icon Johnny “Red” Kerr, will be a true pleasure.
Some quick facts about myself:
- I never get personal when calling a game. If a player has a bad night, I don't sugar coat it but I'm not going to belittle him. Bad games happen.
- I don't second guess coaches. That's not my job. I'm a play-by-play guy.
- When you e-mail me, you will get a response.
- I am open to speak at business and community functions.
- Our dog's name is MJ, named after a famous Bulls player… no, not Mickey Johnson! I love dogs.
- When I'm not watching or broadcasting the NBA I love being a couch potato on Bears' Sundays and Saturdays catching Michigan football.
- I am addicted to DQ Blizzards (Butterfinger) and Cherry Coke which, by the way, is served in the Bulls press room. Got to love it.
- One of my closest friends is Blackhawks' President John McDonough, who is a genius in the sports industry and even a better human being.
- My iPod library is all over the map, ranging from Motown to Led Zeppelin.
- I am horrible fixing things around the house. I'm lucky if I can change a light bulb... honest.
- I am an Internet freak and my Blackberry is always on.
Always a pleasure and you’ll be hearing from me again soon!