The man behind the voice of the Cougars

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There is one BYU fan whose passion can be heard above everyone else’s, coming across the radio on Saturday afternoons in the fall and Thursday evenings during the winter.

It’s a voice most BYU fans have heard and can recognize but a voice that far fewer have seen. Even fewer know how this voice came to be the voice of the Cougars.

[media-credit name=”Kyle Chilton” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The voice of the Cougars is Greg Wrubell. For the past 16 seasons of basketball and 12 seasons of football, this BYU graduate has been living his dream. It took a little time for Wrubell to realize his dream, but once he decided what he wanted, there was nothing that was going to stop him.

“Growing up in Canada, I was hardly aware of BYU,” Wrubell said. “We (my family and I) were converts to the LDS church when I was about 10.”

His first taste of BYU was as a participant in an Especially for Youth program held at BYU over one of his teenage summers.

As the end of high school approached, Wrubell had decided he wanted to go into broadcasting. He had a much more difficult time deciding which school to attend, but ultimately, he decided to go to BYU with a group of his friends from Calgary.

Once he was in Provo, Wrubell did not waste any time in pursuing what he wanted to do.

“My first week I went right down to the KBYU news offices and said put me to work. I’ll do anything,” Wrubell said.

Within a couple of weeks Wrubell was on the air as a 17-year-old freshman.

After returning from his mission to Brazil, Wrubell landed an internship with KSL sports, finished up school and then became the sideline radio reporter for BYU football.

“I fell in love with this place,” Wrubell said. “I was in the stands every week. On my way home from class, I would stop by the Marriott center and watch practice.”

Wrubell still had a hard time seeing him self-replace the former voice of the Cougars, Paul James, who had been doing it for longer than Wrubell had been around.

Once James retired, Wrubell was able to use his passion to put his insecurities aside and take the reigns.

Marc Lyons, who has been at Wrubell’s side announcing football games, said his passion drives him to be one of the most prepared and knowledgeable play-by-play analysts there is.

“Greg is the most prepared person for every possible situation you’ll ever meet,” Lyons said. “He is non-stop studying every statistic.”

Wrubell admits he thrives off of stats.

“I have a natural affinity for stats. I have some particular sources I use and a good statistician,” he said.

Wrubell also puts in many hours during the week and says it is almost a four-to-one ratio of preparation to actual broadcasting. A major portion of the prep time includes Wrubell memorizing the players and numbers of the other team each week.

Mark Durrant, the color commentator alongside Wrubell in basketball games, said Wrubell is a little bit of a perfectionist.

“He is very particular. I think there’s a little OCD in him,” Durrant said. “He just wants things done right.”

Wrubell said he needs to sit in the same seat, have his books stacked in a certain way and maybe even wear a certain tie or championship ring that has proven lucky in the past.

But even with all of Wrubell’s particulars, Lyons said part of his routine during away games is to make sure he calls his wife.  He is also heavily involved in his children’s lives.

“He makes sure he is a father first,” Lyons said.

Durrant, who has known Wrubell for the last 16 years, agrees, and said that Wrubell is a high-quality friend.

“We’re like an old married couple,” Durrant joked. “He has become one of my best friends in the world.”

Those who listen to Wrubell on the radio know he is a passionate man.

Current BYU basketball player Nate Austin does not know of anyone more into BYU sports.

“When people see him, they say ‘Oh, he’s a Cougar.’ Win or lose, he’s a Cougar,” Austin said.

Wrubell has seen a lot of change over the years to both the basketball and football programs. In his first season covering basketball, the team went 1-25. Now, the basketball team has six consecutive 25-win seasons.  The football team has had five 10-win seasons in the last six years.

“BYU is one out of three schools in the country to have both the football and basketball coaches to be in the active top 10 win percentage, in company with Ohio State and Wisconsin,” Wrubell said proudly.

Wrubell loves knowing he is dedicating his week to BYU sports, something he really loves. BYU is a part of him.

“This is my team. This is my school. I have a dream job scenario.”

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