By: Ken Sugiura
June 8, 2016
To the knowledge of few, Georgia Tech voice Brandon Gaudin had been working a second job for the past several months on top of calling Yellow Jackets football and basketball games. On a weekly basis, with the blessing of athletic director Mike Bobinski, he flew down to Orlando, Fla., to provide play-by-play content for the Madden NFL video game, recording pages of game calls to add to the detail of the popular game.
Gaudin saw the job as a major break, similar to his hire at Tech in August 2013 to replace longtime Tech voice Wes Durham. In recent weeks, Tech was preparing to make an announcement about Gaudin’s side gig — one that broadcasting greats Jim Nantz, Pat Summerall and Al Michaels had previously held — when two more opportunities came Gaudin’s way. The Big Ten Network wanted him to call football, basketball and baseball games, and Westwood One Sports offered him a spot as its lead college football play-by-play voice, with NFL games thrown in.
On Monday, in a bittersweet turn, Gaudin found himself in Bobinski’s office, informing him that his three-year tenure as Tech’s voice would be ending. The 32-year-old Gaudin, whose passionate calls of Tech’s 2014 football win over Georgia and the “Miracle on Techwood Drive” will give Jackets fans goosebumps for years, found himself getting emotional.
“He brought me down here, and he’s given me a lot of just chances to grow, a lot of opportunities and also treated me with a ton of respect,” Gaudin said Wednesday.
Gaudin will leave Tech for jobs to walk down a trio of paths ripe with promise — television with one of the more prominent entities in college sports, national radio and the chance to indulge an interest that Gaudin had cultivated since childhood. As a boy, Gaudin announced games he played by himself in his family’s Indiana home. He’ll do essentially the same thing for EA Sports — make imaginary play-by-play calls, albeit ones that will be loaded onto the Madden games and will pay him significantly more.
After using household broadcasting names for its Madden franchise, EA Sports sought to create its own pairing. Gaudin will work with analyst Charles Davis of Fox Sports. In a first for the game, they’ll add voiceover content during the NFL season on a weekly basis that can be uploaded onto video-game systems, commenting on actual injuries and storylines of the season to give gamers a more life-like experience.
“I have long had a desire to do live play-by-play, but I’ve long had a desire to do some voiceover acting, and so to be able to blend a passion in play-by-play with sort of an opportunity in voiceover acting, this was a dream scenario,” he said.
Gaudin’s star ascended during his three-year tenure. Doing freelance work for Westwood One, Gaudin’s workload went from a handful of college basketball games to the NCAA tournament’s First Four games to additional football games and then the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
“We just felt that Brandon could quickly make the transition to television play-by-play and he possesses a lot of the qualities that you look for,” Big Ten Network senior vice president Mark Hulsey said. “He’s very poised, works very hard and has developed a great reputation along the way.”
In departing, Gaudin expressed thanks to Bobinski, the Tech staff, the Tech radio crew and the entirety of the Tech fan base.
Hired from his job calling games for his alma mater Butler, Gaudin said he will regard his tenure in the seat made great by Durham and Al Ciraldo before him “as fondly as you can possibly view your time at Tech. I love it here, I really do.”
Gaudin will stay at Tech until the end of the month and plans to remain in Atlanta. Bobinski, in conjunction with Tech’s multi-media rights holder IMG, will begin a search immediately. Tech’s season opener against Boston College in Dublin is fewer than 90 days away.
“I think he’s been terrific, I really do,” Bobinski said. “I think he assimilated so quickly so well into Georgia Tech and just seamlessly took over for a tremendous broadcaster in Wes Durham, and big shoes to fill. I knew it when I first heard his tapes and then got to talk with him and then talked to people about him, I knew how talented he was and I knew that a day would come when he would have other things that were going to be available to him to pursue. I was just hoping it wasn’t going to be in three years.”