The Baker Orange

Jim Joyner’s final farewell

Voice+of+the+Wildcats+Tom+Hedrick+joined+color+analyst+Jim+Joyner+in+Daytona+Beach%2C+Florida%2C+to+broadcast+the+NAIA-FCS+championship+game+on+Dec.+17.
Voice of the Wildcats Tom Hedrick joined color analyst Jim Joyner in Daytona Beach, Florida, to broadcast the NAIA-FCS championship game on Dec. 17.

Voice of the Wildcats Tom Hedrick joined color analyst Jim Joyner in Daytona Beach, Florida, to broadcast the NAIA-FCS championship game on Dec. 17.

Voice of the Wildcats Tom Hedrick joined color analyst Jim Joyner in Daytona Beach, Florida, to broadcast the NAIA-FCS championship game on Dec. 17.

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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After three semesters at Baker, I was ready to graduate as quickly as possible. Honestly, I wasn’t happy with school and I wasn’t happy with myself in general. But something changed in me that fourth semester in Baldwin City, and everything became clear to me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, with people I was supposed to be with, and surrounded by the perfect support system.

The world opened up for me and my entire outlook on life took a complete flip. Instead of focusing on the negative things that surround a small school like Baker, I decided to embrace the small environment and enjoy the close-knit community that makes the school ideal for many students like me.

I walked onto Baker’s campus for the first time in August of 2012, the day after visiting Benedictine College in Atchison. After talking with then head baseball coach Phil Hannon for two hours, I was sold on everything Baker had to offer me and unofficially made my decision to come to Baker. On a hot, cloudy day in Baldwin City, I made the choice that would continuously point me in the right direction for four years.

I was home.

Baker was the perfect place for me to follow my passion of sports broadcasting and meet an amazing group of friends and peers to spend every day with for seven semesters.

My passion for sports broadcasting started on Sept. 6, 2013, in a tiny press box at Wellsville High School. In the Baldwin High Bulldogs’ first game of that season, they beat the Wellsville Eagles 46-12. More importantly, that was my first of more than 300 games on radio at Baker. I was terrified and probably sounded awful, just ask my partner Sean Webb, but that was the night I decided I wanted to be a sports broadcaster.

Since then I’ve broadcast three full seasons with Baker football and basketball, four full seasons as the play-by-play voice of the Baldwin High Bulldogs football team, six games for the NAIA men’s basketball national championship in Kansas City, numerous state tournament and high school playoff games for football and basketball, an entire season of baseball in the Florida Collegiate Summer League in Orlando and two Baker national championship games.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been at Baker and if I didn’t have the help of Tom Hedrick. He consistently pointed me in the right direction with my broadcast career and has been the most amazing mentor for me since I’ve walked onto campus. Tom opened the door for me with jobs at several places and always made sure I was where I needed to be. From long road trips throughout the Heart of America Athletic Conference to his Intro to Sportscasting class, I’ve learned incredible life lessons from that man, who has spent more than a half century in the field. When I think of a genuinely great person, I think of Tom Hedrick.

I’d like to thank the Baker basketball teams, head coaches Ben Lister and Sean Dooley and the rest of the staff for their support for me over the last four years. You allowed for me to feel and be a part of your programs for four years and allowed me 100 percent access. Lister even let me play him 1-on-1 (and absolutely killed me) and let me play on his scout team. How many broadcasters have that type of relationship with a program? I’ll always remember the countless road trips on the bus to all corners of the conference as well as intramural basketball championships with all the assistants.

I’d also like to thank Mike Grossner, the football players and his support staff for an incredible four years. During the roller coaster to the conference title in 2013, the tough finish of 2014 and the path to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the national championship game in 2016, the program was nothing but amazing to me. Coach Grossner never turned down an interview or meeting with me and told me anything I needed to know, when many coaches can try and keep their programs private. Not many coaches do live interviews on radio 15 minutes before kickoff of every game either. It’s been a privilege to call Baker games in the most successful four-year stretch in school history.

All of those coaches have taught me what’s it’s like to work with a specific team and how to build relationships with a program and its coaches. There was never a moment that I was worried about what I said on the air or any question I asked, because they always treated me right. They never made me feel like I asked a stupid question and always made me feel important. My time working with these coaches showed me how every coach should act with the media.

I also have to thank Athletic Director Theresa Yetmar, Sports Information Director Tyler Price and Assistant Athletic Director Matt Windle for their continuous support for me as a member of the Baker sports media. Price has welcomed my participation in sports broadcasting since the day I walked onto campus and has been a nonstop supporter of my passion for sports. Baker’s athletic department is the hardest working group in the NAIA, and all three of them continue to make Baker successful because of their hard work. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for me and all the countless references and connections I’ve built with them.

I also send a huge “thank you” to the Mass Media Department at Baker. My adviser, Joe Watson, and newspaper adviser, Dave Bostwick, have been there for me every step of the way throughout my time at Baker. They taught me how to write, manage a radio station and edit a newspaper. They taught me about media law and how to be a good person. Baker’s Mass Media Department is extremely hands-on, which means I truly was able to learn in a professional setting from day one. They will always be the two people I look back to and thank for pushing me to be better in the classroom and as a media member.

Finally, I’d like to thank my friends, professors and the Baker community. I didn’t know where or who I was throughout my first three semesters at Baker because I was completely lost. But you all made me your friend and greeted me with a smile every day. There aren’t very many places that you will go where everybody knows your name and finds a way to make you feel included, but Baker is one of those places. The relationships I’ve made here will always be special to me.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making my time in college the best it possibly could be. Thanks for letting me make cheesy tweets and dad jokes every day. Most importantly, thank you all for being my friend.

During my first year at Baker, I couldn’t wait to leave. Now that graduation has passed and I’m supposed to join the real world, I can’t believe I have to leave.

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