Like many young men Mikel Minor grew up with aspirations of being a rock ‘n’ roll star, but life had other plans for him. His journey took him from BYU to ESPN and back again.
From his office at the new BYU Broadcasting Building, Minor shared his excitement to be back at BYUtv.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be back where I started my career, not only to serve my audience but to serve the greater good,” Minor said.
[pullquote]”I’m grateful for the opportunity to be back where I started my career, not only to serve my audience but to serve the greater good,” Minor said.[/pullquote]
While most BYU sports fans don’t know Minor by name, they surely know his work. In 2006, Minor was named producer for ESPN’s “ESPNews” and “SportsCenter,” but it was here in Provo that Minor started on his path — a path that wasn’t clear cut from the beginning.
Minor said growing up he always had an affinity for music and to this day he enjoys playing drums. Originally, he planned to be a rock star.
“Music was my passion, and still is to a certain extent,” Minor said.
During his first year at BYU, Minor met a group of musicians and started a band. He and his band spent the next several years touring the country trying to make it in the music business. Eventually the rigors of the road became too stressful.
“It was fun but it wasn’t the best lifestyle to be in with that side of the entertainment business,” Minor said.
After several years on a tour bus, Minor switched gears from musician to matriculation and refocused on his studies. Though he was done with rock music, at least professionally, Minor still had a bug for the entertainment industry that led him to study communications.
“I still had that wiring in my DNA for the adrenaline rush of being on stage,” Minor said.
He got his start in television working as the ad manager for KBYU-TV, writing ads for network programming. It was at this point Minor was asked to get involved with the old Blue and White Network, BYU’s first sports network. Minor said he still has clear memories of his experiences working on the networks broadcast truck.
“I remember vividly walking into that truck and thinking ‘this is where I belong,’ ” Minor said.
Minor’s résumé paints a picture of a man dedicated to excellence. He was eventually named managing producer of the Blue and White Network and went on to work as the executive producer of Sports West Broadcasting. Before coming back to BYUtv, Minor worked as a producer for ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Minor left ESPN in 2011 and came to Utah to care for his ailing mother. It was during this time that BYU enlisted his help for the media day celebrating football independence. During this time Minor worked as a temporary employee to broker unprecedented deals between BYU and ESPN through the 2011-2012 football season. He was also largely responsible for the pre-game and post-game shows featured last football season.
In December, minor was named the senior coordinating producer for BYUtv Sports. His unique perspective as a media professional, Minor said, and his love of the gospel, have helped him have so much success here.
“I am LDS and active LDS, so I can take the skill set and combine it with the value set,” Minor said, adding that the improvements to production quality are about more than increasing the number of viewers and fans of BYU sports.
“The broader goal of BYUtv is a missionary tool,” Minor said. “The other aspect of this is it helps debunk some of the myths and stereotypes of the church.”
Jarom Jordan, studio sports producer for BYUtv, said Minor’s work has been essential to helping grow the BYUtv brand.
“Him being here makes us better,” Jordan said. “We have tremendous ideas, tremendous perspective. BYUtv is what it is and what it will be because of him from the top.”
Matthew Shaw, a junior majoring in psychology and a long time BYU sports fan, said Minor’s innovative thinking has transformed college football broadcasting for the viewer as well.
“I’ve always been a fan of sports,” Shaw said. “I grew up watching ESPN and it’s really awesome to see my team and the church get this kind of recognition and to see this kind of quality production.”
While it’s true Minor is a broadcasting guru, he’s also very much a family man. Mikel said one of the biggest factors behind his decision to stay in Provo was that he’d be closer to his children. Minor and his wife have two sons and two daughters. The three older children live here in Utah County and are college students. Minor lives with his oldest daughter in American Fork. Though Minor has moved to Utah permanently, his wife is still in Connecticut with their youngest daughter while she finishes high school. The two will join the rest of the family some time this summer.
Allen, Minor’s oldest son, said family has always been a priority for his father. Minor and his son are both musicians and enjoy jamming together.
“His family comes first,” Allen said. ” The whole reason he came out here was to care for his mother.”
Allen, a senior studying physics at UVU, said he admires his father’s intelligence and ability to reason. He said his father is sage-like and humorous in his fatherly advice. When Allen was young his father gave him a pocket knife with some simple advice.
“If you cut your finger off don’t go point it at me,” Minor said.
Allen said he’s always looked at his father as someone who is knowledgeable in his field. He also said his father is serious about helping to further the cause of BYUtv.
“He really does want to paint BYU in the best light,” Allen said.
Though Minor has had much success, he doesn’t let that success define him. He said he’s very much a regular guy who enjoys serving. Minor is glad to be back at BYU because he feels he can really make a difference in people’s lives here.
“At ESPN you don’t see that,” he said, “But there’s more satisfaction in looking at the opportunities that lie ahead and knowing you can have an impact.”