Mizzou Alumni Association President Randy Wright, BGS ’87, MA ’02, now works at the University of Florida but still eats up the Tigers.
The Mizzou Alumni Association’s volunteer president for 2010–11 is a man of many media who has deep roots at MU and Columbia.
Randy Wright, BGS ’87, MA ’02, was the public address announcer at hundreds of Tiger football and basketball games. Wright recently moved to Florida after 44 years in Columbia working as vice president/general manager at ABC17, FOX22, MYZOUTV and ABC17 Stormtrack 24/7 television, and as general partner of Wright Communications, which owns radio station KZWV-FM. Get to know Wright in the following conversation with MIZZOU magazine.
Q: What’s your new job in Florida?
A: I am executive director of multimedia properties for the University of Florida. I oversee the university’s two television stations, four radio stations and numerous websites, which are part of the College of Journalism and Communications. My office is right across the street from “The Swamp,” where the Gators play football.
Q: What was it like being public address announcer for the Tigers — basketball for 22 years and football six years?
A: I loved it! One of my favorite parts was when I started the M-I-Z, Z-O-U cheer after Tiger first downs. The first time I tried it was during the Mizzou-Nebraska game in 2007. We thought we needed something to keep the crowd involved throughout the game. It didn’t take more than a couple of first downs to catch on, and the rest is history. There’s nothing like the feeling of announcing, “First down, M-I-Z,” and hearing 70,000 Tiger fans yell back, “Z-O-U.”
Q: What’s your history with Columbia and Mizzou?
A: My roots are deep, as are my wife’s. Cortney [DVM ’92] and I both went to Hickman High School and Mizzou. I still remember football Saturdays during the Al Onofrio era when I was a kid, walking outside my house and hearing Marching Mizzou practicing early in the morning. I recall clearly when my dad, Marvin “Bunky” Wright, BA ’58, JD ’64, took me to basketball games at Brewer Fieldhouse, and afterward as we filed out I’d look up into the lights and see the haze from the cinder floors in the old gym. I started my television career at KOMU in the mid-1980s doing weather and working on the production crew. Professors and mentors like Jim Gibson in speech communication and Kent Collins, BJ ’70, in journalism had a tremendous impact on my career and life.
Q: Why have you become so involved with the Mizzou Alumni Association?
A: I love the interaction with alumni across the country at bowl game parties, watch parties, fundraisers — all kinds of events. I’m always impressed by their enthusiasm for Mizzou and what it stands for. Even here in Gainesville, Fla., in the land of the Gators, I’ve found plenty of Mizzou school spirit in colleagues at the College of Journalism and Communications.
Q: What do you look forward to as president?
A: In fall 2011, we will celebrate the centennial of Mizzou’s Homecoming. The association hosts this event, which was one of the first and is still one of the best anywhere. Homecoming is a wonderful tradition that brings us together. It’s so important for alumni around the world to know that they always have a home at MU.
Q: What are your memories of Homecoming growing up in Columbia?
A: From campus decs to parades and Tiger football games, memories of Homecoming are deeply ingrained in me. I’m especially looking forward to our family representing the association in the parade as we ride on the College of Veterinary Medicine’s mule team wagon. That’s special for us because my wife is a veterinarian, and our wedding actually included the mule team, which took us from the church to the reception. But we drew the line at inviting them to the reception.