College football is in full swing and fans all around the country are tuning into games every Saturday as the voices behind our favorite teams continue to be so important to the identity to the team.
Vanderbilt’s Director of Radio Broadcasting Andrew Allegretta has been filling that job as the play-by-play voice for Commodore football and baseball since 2021.
Andrew Allegretta. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics
“Through individual experiences, what I saw, what I felt and what I was comfortable with, I gravitated to the play-by-play side of things,” he shared with The Sports Credential.
Allegretta’s passion for sports and sports broadcasting specifically, began when he was young. In middle school his passions grew with watching games and ESPN’s SportsCenter.
“I think I knew I had a bit of an interest for it at a young age,” he recalls. “About the time I was in seventh grade, it peaked my interest just by watching ESPN, SportsCenter and watching and listening to games. There was a gravitational pull there.”
It was in high school when he was looking at colleges that this passion began to formulate and narrow down into something that he could see as a possible career path. He went on to attend Syracuse, one of the top broadcasting schools in the country that has produced numerous sportscasters such as Bob Costas, Mike Tirico and many more.
“I loved my time at Syracuse. Not just from a broadcasting standpoint, but because I met some of my best friends there,” he explains. “It’s hard to ignore Syracuse’s history and tradition within the broadcasting realm. I didn’t know it to the depths then that I do now, but I knew it enough to say to myself, ‘This is something you need to take pretty seriously.’ I’m certainly glad that I did.”
At Syracuse, he worked with the radio station Z98 which had a history of being the starting point for so many broadcasters, including Sean McDonough and Marv Albert. It was here where he began to focus on the play-by-play side of the sports broadcasting world.
“Just being in that environment really motivated me, grabbed my attention and sparked my passion,” Allegretta shares. “I loved being around the game, the performance of calling the game, and working with my classmates to produce those games. I fed off the energy of it.”
After graduating from Syracuse in 2010, he got a job–which was more of an internship, according to Allegretta–with the Walla Walla Sweets, a summer league baseball team in Walla Walla, Washington.
Being a native of Maine and going to school in New York, the Walla Walla Sweets were an opportunity go to the West Coast. This began his journey of traveling and working throughout different parts of the country, resulting in his growth as both a person and as a broadcaster.
Vanderbilt football stadium. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics/Daniel Dubois
“Being on the West Coast was really valuable for me,” he notes. “I think one of the really neat things about my personal journey is that I’ve been able to travel the country and live in different part of the country. From a totally non-broadcasting standpoint, I do think that has helped me understand people from everywhere in America.”
After a summer with the Sweets, he spent time with Charleston Southern University doing play-by-play for their football and men’s basketball teams. In 2011, he got a job with Virginia Tech’s athletic department where he spent eight years.
“That was a really big grounding force for me to get in with a Power 5 school and really learn what it’s all about to be the voice of a team, a voice of a program and what it means to work within an athletic department,” he notes.
Allegretta went on to be the Director of Broadcasting for Digital Media and Olympic sports at Virginia Tech. He also served as sideline reporter and pre/post-game host for football broadcasts, as well as play-by-play broadcaster for the Hokies’ women’s basketball and baseball teams. Additionally, he anchored coverage of VT Olympic sports broadcasts on the university’s digital platforms.
Will Sheppard. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics
In 2018, he was honored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) in as Sportscaster of the Year for the state of Virginia.
When first getting into broadcasting he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go down the path of college athletics or professional. However, his work for Syracuse really paved the way for his successful career in the world of college sports.
“It was just the way it unfolded for me,” Allegretta notes. “I kept moving toward college athletics and the voice of the team side of things, which I’m really thankful for. I think it suits who I am personally–trying to be part of a community and getting to know people.”
In 2019, Allegretta moved from Virginia Tech to Tulane where he was named Director of Broadcasting. In 2021, he made another move to Nashville to become Vanderbilt Athletics’ Director of Broadcasting. The 2022 effort marks his first full season with the Commodores.
“For me, personally, Vanderbilt is the No. 1 job in the country,” Allegretta offers. “My nature desires to be in and around collegiate athletics, in a community and to build that continuity of the fanbase, the players and coaches over the course of time.
“Now, from Tulane to Vanderbilt, I get to do it in the SEC–the best collegiate athletic conference in the country–at a place that has won two baseball national championships. They have all of this energy around it to push it forward with what [Vandy’s Athletic Director] Candice Storey-Lee is doing now.”
It was a really easy move for Allegretta as he saw the job at Vanderbilt as the crown jewel to move into the SEC and a growing athletic department. It was also a personal move, though, as his wife has family here.
“It’s hard to beat an opportunity like this, personally. It’s not going to be everybody’s No. 1 job in the country but, for me, it is.”
Being with Vanderbilt for just one year, Allegretta has had a lot of fun calling Clark Lea‘s first season as Vandy’s football coahc, as well as being a part of the Vandy Boys great baseball season. He’s also felt the freedom to create and try to take Vandy to new level.
“It’s really just a cauldron of energy and creativity and I’ve had fun with it,” he shares. “I get the true fortune of working with people who are passionate about Vanderbilt and who know the history and legacy. Whether its Kevin Ingram coming in and being our sideline reporter for football games, or our color commentator Norm Jordan who played here in the 1980’s, I’ve got a crew that is really fun to work with.”
As the Director of Broadcasting and the lead football voice, there can be a lot of preparation involved. Allegretta is very meticulous about the prep he and his team do on game day, doing a lot of work throughout the week to try and make every aspect the best. From the pregame, to the tailgate show, to the Monday night show, it’s a bigger process than just putting on his headset and calling a game.
Vandy United rendering
“There are a lot of layers to it that are more than filling in the data, putting it into a chart and saying it into a headset,” he explains. “It’s more like how can I make sure that the engineer who’s running our broadcast has all of the technical stuff that he needs? I try to be a positive force in every aspect of our operation.”
Allegretta is really looking forward to continuing to develop the relationship between the fans. He knows it takes time and is an uphill battle, but it’s something that is really important to him. He’s also really excited about how the Vandy United upgrades will continue to unfold.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to continue getting to know the fanbase here at Vanderbilt. It means a lot to me,” he shares. “On a macro level, I’m excited for people to get out here and to slowly start to see the physical fruits of our labor around here, like the physical construction. I know its a long time coming for people to see this place really take significant strides with its facilities and on a very real level.
“I think we’re all understanding of what Vanderbilt is trying to do and the fact that we’re all in that moment together is a fun moment to be at Vanderbilt,” he sums.