If Penn football beats Cornell at Franklin Field to win the Ivy League title and Brian Seltzer is not in the booth to provide commentary, did it really happen?
Ever since 2008, the 2007 College graduate has been the voice of Penn football. In 2005, even before graduating, he became the radioman for men’s basketball.
Through that time he has seen it all, covered it all and loved it all. But unfortunately, it looks like all good things must come to an end.
For Seltzer, radio broadcasting and audio commenting have been lifelong passions, but now he has finally been given the opportunity to take his childhood obsession to the next level: NBA basketball.
In October, the Cheltenham, Pa., native found a full-time position working for the Philadelphia 76ers as the team’s digital content coordinator. As such, he was unable to comment on the football team’s last two games against Harvard and Cornell, without a doubt the Red and Blue’s most important matchups of the season.
And with both the Sixers’ and the Quakers’ basketball seasons in full swing, the Palestra has seen less and less of the beloved homegrown radio personality. Seltzer predicts that he will be able to make it to only five or so home games for Penn, a far cry from the years he spent traveling with the team on distant road trips and to NCAA tournaments.
Seltzer first picked up the microphone at the Palestra as a junior, when he was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to comment alongside three-time Penn letterer and 1992 graduate Vince Curran.
“I got probably undeservedly fortunate in that Penn and WXPN were both willing to let me do the games,” Seltzer said.
While his big break only came when the previous play-by-play announcer was swept away by ESPN to work on the west coast, basketball broadcasting had never been far from his mind. WXPN, Penn’s non-commercial, public radio station, was one of the biggest draws for Seltzer when he applied to Penn.
When the opportunity to work the courtside box finally came, Seltzer could hardly believe his luck, but he also refused to be phased by his new prominence.
“They really hadn’t had a student do play-by-play for a while, and I had no idea how many people or who was listening, but that was the farthest thing from my mind,” Seltzer said.
“The biggest thing was just that when I got involved as a freshman at WXPN, never did I possibly imagine that I would end up doing play-by-play for the men’s basketball team. It was a totally unexpected but absolutely welcome development.”
In an article in The Pennsylvania Gazette, Penn’s director of athletic communications Michael Mahoney had many words of praise for the Penn Athletics staple.
“He has become an essential part of the Penn sports scene,” Mahoney said. “Each step Brian takes, more and more people are impressed with him.”
Evidently, the Sixers were some of those people.
Although Seltzer has immense gratitude for the classmates, mentors and administrators who gave him the opportunities to find his voice at Penn, working for his boyhood team is a dream come true.
“This may sound like a cliche, stock answer, but it’s true,” Seltzer said. “Literally just the fact that I have an opportunity to be working for a professional team, and not just a professional team but a professional team in the area that I grew up in and followed for most of my life.”
At that point, the man who makes a living off talking was at a loss for words. But then, after a few seconds of reflection, the color commentator said all that needed to be said.
“I’m good with that.“
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