(November 8, 2019) Scoring an NCAA Division I play-by-play job straight out of college is rare. When recent Arizona State grad Braiden Bell surprised even himself by earning the men’s basketball broadcasting job at DI Cal Baptist University, the first call he made was to his Mom and Dad.
“I called my parents right away,” Bell recalls. “They have obviously been with me throughout the entire journey, through the ups and downs and I couldn’t wait to tell them that I was a DI broadcaster. The emotions on that phone call were heavy and it was a special moment that I won’t forget.”
Cal Baptist plays in the Western Athletic Conference after making the jump to DI prior to last season. When the school needed a new broadcaster for 2019-20, they shared the job lead exclusively with STAA. “The school knew we had plenty of qualified applicants,” says STAA owner Jon Chelesnik.
Bell received notification of the opening in an STAA job leads email just one month after joining STAA. “I knew about STAA from multiple different people but once [Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster] Joe Davis recommended it and said he had used it when looking for his first job I knew I had to do it as well.”
After receiving notification of the CBU opening, Bell acted quickly. “I instantly looked up CBU and was very attracted to the position,” Bell remembers. “From there I submitted my materials and waited. It took a few weeks to hear back before I was told I was to be interviewed by phone.”
Bell didn’t hear from the school for nearly two weeks following his phone interview. “I really thought they had moved on in the process without me. I sent one last email to check in and then got a call saying I was a finalist. After an in-person interview on campus I was offered the job.”
At ASU, Bell broadcast men’s and women’s basketball and many other sports for Blaze Radio. He was also the first student in ASU history to call a game for the Sun Devil Radio Network. Additionally, Bell’s resume includes calling games for the PAC-12 Networks.
It was a comment from Arizona State Football Coach Herm Edwards that inspired Bell to apply for the CBU job even though landing a DI gig is a long shot for a recent college grad. “’You’ve got to be able to bet on yourself. You don’t let other people set your expectations,'” Bell recalls Edwards saying. “Although it might be rare, I always thought I could accomplish this right out of school. I believe in myself and knew that I was good enough to get the job.”
The CBU applicant pool included many broadcasters with Division I experience and some with NBA experience. “We always kept coming back to Braiden,” says CBU Associate Athletic Director Mike Minyard.
Persistence and knowing when to use his contacts helped Bell clinch the job. “I really don’t think if I would have this job if it wasn’t for showing CBU how badly I wanted it. I also waited to use my contacts until after my interviews. They did an awesome job reaching out on my behalf.”
Bell has been with STAA since August. His only hesitation about joining was the price. “But it is well worth it,” he grins. “Not only are the job postings unparalleled but the other resources available are outstanding as well. I now know it is 100 percent worth the monthly fee.”
His advice to new STAA members is simple. “Be active on the site,” he says enthusiastically. “Take advantage of the great resources on STAA, not just the job postings. When it does come to jobs, don’t be afraid or intimidated by anything. It never hurts to shoot your shot.”
(Visit Braiden’s STAA Talent Page.).