Nick LePage | Staff Writer
While thousands of fans pile into Ray Skillman Stadium on Friday nights, a few gentlemen are preparing to be the loudest voice that none of those fans will hear. A narrow desk flooded with notes and statistics serves as the broadcast booth for the Center Grove Sports Network, and while their voices are seemingly nonexistent to the fans at the game, around the Center Grove community they can still be heard.
The CG Sports Network prides itself on providing live football telecasts for fans all over the country. Founded by Franklin Central High School alum Kevin Conrad, the network has covered games as large as CG’s championship game against Carmel in 2016, allowing fans who cannot make the games to watch from the comfort of their own couch.
As Conrad finishes his introduction and lists off his crew for the night’s telecast, one name might stand out: Ted Kitchel. Indiana University graduates might recognize this name as the leading scorer of the 1981-82 IU basketball team. Or perhaps they remember him as a member of three Big Ten Championships under legendary coach Bobby Knight. The accolades and accomplishments go on and on.
So why is a former basketball star who graduated from Cass High School in Walton, Indiana covering football games for Center Grove High School, 85 miles south of where he grew up?
“I have no idea,” Kitchel laughs. “I think it’s crazy that they call me to do the football games, but they don’t call me to do the basketball games.”
While family and work brought him to the South side, the prospect of covering football games still surprises Kitchel. Nonetheless, the former three-sport athlete uses Friday night as an outlet for his love of football. This love for the game stretches back to his high school days, where he played tight end, defensive tackle, punter and snapped extra points for the Lewis Cass Kings.
Kitchel’s offer to join the CG Sports Net crew presumably has something to do with his rich broadcasting background. After a playing career that included a victory for the United States in the 1982 FIBA World Championship, Kitchel spent nearly 15 years as a television analyst for IU basketball. While differences between a Big 10 basketball game and an IHSAA football game exist, the time spent on air for the Hoosiers has assisted in Kitchel’s role at CG Sports Net.
“I’m a huge football fan. I watch it all on TV…so I’m pretty up to date as to what’s going on. So when they called me… I had an idea of what I was doing…just because I had had some experience in the field before,” Kitchel said.
Now 58 years of age, Kitchel’s role as an analyst has provided many fans, Center Grove and otherwise, with an electrifying on-air experience on Friday nights. Win or lose, the fans at home can always appreciate the in-game analysis from the unexpected, yet brilliant voice of Ted Kitchel.