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Longtime radio voice Neel going into Pa. Hall of Fame

BU basketball play-by-play man and WNBF director to be honored Saturday in Slippery Rock

February 7, 2013


Longtime radio voice Neel going into Pa. Hall of Fame

Contact: John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu)

VESTAL, N.Y.—Award-winning and longtime Broome County sports announcer and Binghamton basketball radio play-by-play voice Roger Neel is now being honored for his athletic accomplishments. Neel will be inducted into the Slippery Rock (Pa.) High School Hall of Fame this Saturday. The ceremony and recognition dinner will pull Neel away from a Bearcats basketball broadcast for the first time in 15 years.

Neel was a two-sport athlete at Slippery Rock, excelling at football and baseball. He earned three letters in baseball and led the team with a .458 batting average as a senior captain and first baseman. He also was an offensive and defensive tackle on the football team for two years and graduated in 1969.

After graduation, Neel continued his athletics prowess at Westminster College (Pa.), where he was a three-year starter and starting member of the school’s first NAIA Championship team in 1970 and its national runnerup team in 1971. During Neel’s tenure, the Titans held the nation’s longest winning streak at 24 straight games. He earned Pittsburgh Press first team all-district honors as an offensive tackle in 1971 and played for two College Football Hall of Fame coaches in Dr. Harold Burry and Dr. Joseph Fusco. Neel also captained Westminster’s baseball team, where he played alongside future New York Yankee Darryl Jones. He graduated from Westminster in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in speech with a concentration in radio/television. 

Neel’s professional accomplishments are widespread. He began his broadcasting career in 1973 as the play-by-play voice of the Johnstown Jets of the North American Hockey League. In 1978, Neel arrived in Binghamton and began work at WNBF radio and as lead announcer for the Broome Dusters (and later Binghamton Whalers) of the American Hockey League. His work in hockey has resulted in election to the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and honors as the James Ellery Award winner for radio broadcasting and publicity in the AHL.

In 1998, Neel began his long tenure as basketball play-by-play man for Binghamton University and he hasn’t missed a game in 15 years. Along the way, Neel’s voice has resonated back to Broome County fans from the far reaches of Alaska, California, Texas, New Mexico, Florida and North Carolina. Neel called the historic 2009 NCAA first-round game between the Bearcats and Duke from Greensboro, N.C.

He has continued to work as brand manager and sports director for Townsquare Media radio stations 1290 WNBF and ESPN 1360 WYOS and hosts WNBF’s popular morning show.

Neel is the most visible and veteran broadcaster in Upstate New York and has done television work for NESN, MSG, Time Warner Cable and New York SportsChannel. He also served as the public address announcer for the Double-A Binghamton Mets in the Eastern League, working more than 800 games over a 12-year span.

On campus, Neel has also served as master of ceremonies for the athletic department’s annual awards banquet and has promoted BU’s 21 teams and 400+ student-athletes on a daily basis.

“I have known Roger for more than 20 years and have always been amazed at his unmatched level of professionalism and enthusiasm for our university, our student-athletes and the Binghamton community,” said John Hartrick, BU’s associate athletics director. “Roger keeps a hectic schedule that not many people could perform day-in, day out and he always has a smile on his face. He truly is one-of-a-kind and this area has been blessed to have him. Roger loves sports and appreciates and respects the talents of the athletes he covers ... yet he is so humble about his own achievements. We all salute Roger for his induction into the Slippery Rock Hall of Fame and thank him for sharing his expertise with us and the Binghamton Bearcats fans.” 

Neel and his wife, Beth, reside in Endicott.

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