His voice is undoubtedly more familiar than his face.
As the “Voice of the Cougars” since 1997, Greg Wrubell has been capturing BYU’s basketball and football moments for nearly two decades. With hardly a moment to waste, he rushes in and out of meetings, interviews players and hosts radio shows in a nonstop effort to serve BYU sports fans far and wide.
He considers it a great blessing.
“I love being able to cover this team,” Wrubell said. “I went to school here; it’s my alma mater, and it’s the one I’m passionately connected to. To be in this position, I just feel really blessed.”
Growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Wrubell fell in love with hockey at a young age. He played and watched hockey with a vested interest, going to the rink early in the morning or at odd hours just to get on the ice. His father was the public address announcer for the local team, and Wrubell would frequent the games to watch and listen, invoking in him the desire to have a mic in his face as a profession.
“My dad had a great voice,” Wrubell said. “I don’t have his voice; I wish I did, but he had a great voice for announcing, and I think I was blessed to watch him.”
Following ninth grade, Greg and his family moved to Calgary, Alberta, an NHL city. He enrolled in drama and public speaking classes to get comfortable for broadcast, and his love of sports continued to grow, influencing his education at BYU and future career choices.
“I loved all sports,” Wrubell said. “I loved reading about sports, and I loved trivia. I really got after stats and numbers. I was able to take that love for sports and mix it with a profession in terms of communicating and make it work.”
Wrubell started at BYU in 1984, studying for two years before leaving on an LDS mission to Sao Paulo. His junior year began in 1988, and he landed a sports radio internship with KSL. Six months later, the company hired him for a weekend news reporter position.
During his senior year, he was hired full-time for weeknight and overnight news. He was often up all night working and up all day at school before graduating in December 1990. His first sports assignment came in the fall of 1992 as the sideline reporter for BYU football, where he listened and learned from Paul James, the “Voice of the Cougars” from 1965 to 2000.
“I had nine years of background with Paul James as a sideline guy, so I got to learn the craft from listening to him,” Wrubell said.
In Wrubell’s first season covering BYU basketball, the team went 1–25, its only win coming against Utah State. The hiring of Dave Rose as head coach, and an aggressive recruiting trail, took the team to national prominence and previously unknown consistency. All the while Wrubell was there — calling the games, taking notes, conducting interviews and pouring his heart and soul into giving his audience the best possible experience.
Jason Shepherd, BYU sports producer and studio host for basketball and football, has known Wrubell for the better part of 17 years. He left his post at ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City in 2012 to work alongside Wrubell at KSL.
“He’s a really funny guy, and that’s something cool for me because I get to see him behind the scenes,” Shepherd said. “He’s really funny, and he’s got a really dry sense of humor. It’s hilarious. I love what he does on the air, but to have that relationship and to be able to see him let his hair down and joke; that’s really cool.”
Shepherd said besides his jokes, Wrubell works tirelessly to deliver everything a listener could ever want to know about the Cougars’ football and basketball programs, and that his dedication should not be overlooked.
“In terms of preparation I don’t know anybody that is better prepared to do what they do than Greg,” Shepherd said. “Besides the play-by-play, besides the writing on KSL.com, the tweets with all the information, he is a full-service broadcaster, and I hope BYU fans realize how lucky they are to have him.”
One lucky person is Wrubell’s daughter Caitlan, a freshman at BYU, who sees herself in him as much as he sees himself in her. They watch sports together, enjoy the Olympics and occasionally participate in statistical throw-downs on Twitter. Caitlan Wrubell has always loved her dad and his profession, but she is occasionally taken aback by his popularity, responding to some fans by saying, “He’s not Will Smith! He’s not famous!”
“I make fun of him on Twitter, but sometimes I tell him to retweet it because I’ll get an average of one or two followers each time he does,” Caitlan Wrubell laughed. “We bond over Twitter because I make fun of him. My dad is awesome.”
Calling each football and basketball season, dropping obscure stats on Twitter, interacting with players, coaches and co-workers, Wrubell has never lost the fire in his routine or lost an edge in delivering world-class broadcasting. That’s the kind of man he is.
He loves being the voice of the Cougars and interacting with BYU’s athletes and coaches, but one thing trumps it all: his family.
“Just being at home and being able to hang out with my family is the best feeling,” Wrubell said. “Pulling into the driveway is always a good feeling, whether you’ve just got back from a trip or you’re just leaving from the Marriott Center. It’s great every time.”