A family connection and hard work has led recent college grad Sam Weiderhaft to his new job as the voice of Coastal Carolina University women’s basketball.
“I have been volunteering in the Coastal athletic department since September doing our weekly athletics podcast, news packages of our sports, PA announcing, and a segment on the football pregame show,” Weiderhaft says.
It wouldn’t have occurred to Weiderhaft eight months ago that he would now be in Conway, SC. In March, he had lined up a minor league baseball gig. Everything changed when COVID hit. Weiderhaft admits feeling lost after graduating from Butler University in May. He was working a serving job when a relative who works at Coastal Carolina told him the athletic department needed help.
“They had lost over 40 positions due to the pandemic,” Weiderhaft recalls. He moved to Conway in August and was immediately put to work as the volunteer host of their weekly athletics podcast.
“I wanted to get more involved on the media side, so I created social media video packages that went out on our athletics twitter page,” Weiderhaft says. “Thankfully, they liked my voice and started using me as the PA announcer for soccer and volleyball matches, and I was asked to do our Coastal Sports Update radio segment for the football pregame show.”
Weiderhaft was quick to express interest when he learned the Chanticleers women’s basketball job might be opening. “Because the athletic department has liked the content I’ve been putting out, I was able to get the job.”
Advice Weiderhaft received at STAA’s 2018 Play-by-Play Retreat in San Diego makes him especially excited the opportunity. “I remember [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik saying that getting a women’s hoops gig at a bigger school is a good way to get your foot in the door, and that was my goal.”
Saying yes to all opportunities has been one of Weiderhaft’s most valuable career building strategies.
“At Butler, I was picking up jobs as a utility worker for Big East Digital Network broadcasts, just because I wanted to be involved. Just doing something as simple as rolling cable led me to doing talent stats for FS1 and CBS Sports broadcasts for guys like Dave Ryan and Vince Welch and getting to pick their brains while doing so.”
Weiderhaft continues creating new opportunities at Coastal. “That has helped me gain some respect in this athletic department in just a few months,” he says. “Even if it’s the smallest job, never say no and try to create your own opportunities just to get involved, especially with there being few opportunities in today’s sports broadcasting environment.”