The Voice of Bulldog Baseball
Feb. 1, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. - Starting as a small town boy with big dreams of being a sportscaster, Paul Loeffler has become a name in the Central Valley synonymous with great play calls and moving reports.
A Los Banos, Calif. native, Loeffler started an apprenticeship with Richard Rose, the local announcer, at age 12.
"I really loved playing sports but realized I wasn't going to make the NBA or Major League Baseball," said Loeffler. "The more I called games, the more I enjoyed it and received a ton of support and encouragement along the way."
As a senior at Los Banos high school, he helped lead the Tigers to their first section baseball title in 1994. After graduation, Loeffler left the comforts of home and the Valley for the harsh winters of Syracuse, N.Y.
"It certainly wasn't a desire to freeze for four years," said Loeffler of choosing to attend Syracuse University for his undergraduate degree. "A gentleman mentioned an article in Sports Illustrated about all the great sportscasters from Syracuse. I looked into it and found that Syracuse really was the most highly-regarded school for that field, and made it my aim to go there."
Loeffler earned a degree in broadcast journalism and policy studies. He moved back to California after graduating in May of 1998.
"The Valley has always been home to me," said Loeffler. "I love the people here and family has always been the priority."
He began working at CBS 47 in August of that year where, while covering Fresno State Olympic sports, he met his future wife, Tonia.
"It's ironic that Tonia and I never met until I came to Fresno," started Loeffler. "My grandfather first moved to Los Banos to join Tonia's great-grandfather's medical practice. Now we have two girls who are descendants of both of those doctors."
With his love of baseball, it was only a matter of time before Loeffler made his way into the Fresno State press box.
"I had filled in a few times for Paul Swearingen when he was announcing the games," said Loeffler. "When the chance to step into the spot came, I jumped at it. I've always loved baseball. I played basketball and baseball in high school. It's hard to pick a favorite. Basketball is probably my favorite to play, but perhaps baseball on the announcing front because I've done it the longest. I love the drama of football, the intense pace of basketball and the intricacy of baseball."
Today, he is also the voice of Bulldog football and men's basketball, covering the sports since 2009 and 2008 respectively. Loeffler is also responsible for Hometown Heroes, a weekly show dedicated to telling the stories of World War II veterans. While he travels across the country with the Bulldogs, Loeffler collects and documents the oral history of the American heroes.
"My grandfather was a decorated Army doctor in World War II who hadn't shared too much about his experiences," started Loeffler. "I realized if 16 million Americans served in the war, there were a lot of stories out there that hadn't been told. Hometown Heroes continues that idea, and I can't put into words how much education and fulfillment I've received over the years. Hometown Heroes gives me a weekly reminder of what great a price has been paid, and continues to be paid every day for our freedom."
Loeffler became the full-time play-by-play announcer for Bulldog baseball in 2001. He was with the 'Dogs in Omaha when they captured the programs first national championship in 2008 and wrote a book about the experience titled Underdogs to Wonderdogs that is now in its second printing.
Along with color analyst Ray O'Canto, an all-conference outfielder for the Bulldogs in 1981, the pair will broadcast 40 games over AM 940 KYNO during the 2012 season, the flagship station of Bulldog baseball.
"From the alumni to the Dugout Club, to the coaches and players, Bulldog baseball is one special family," said Loeffler. "And my association with that family over the years has been extremely gratifying."
Season and single game tickets are available online or by calling the Bulldog Ticket Office at 559-278-3647. If you bring your radio to the game, or can't be there at all, listen to Loeffler call the play-by-play on 940 KYNO. The 2012 broadcast schedule is provided below. Each pre-game show begins one half-hour before the first pitch.
"We Are Your Team!" The 2008 National Champion Bulldogs will begin their final season in the Western Athletic Conference before you know it. Opening day against Butler is Feb. 17. If you can't make it to Beiden Field, then listen to the 'Dogs on AM 940 KYNO, the flagship station for Bulldog baseball.