Wyatt Thompson: The Voice of the Cats

Wyatt Thompson speaks during the pep rally at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Dec. 27, 2016. (File photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

Just inside Bramlage Coliseum lives voice that every Kansas State fan knows. Walking into Wyatt Thompson’s office is like walking into a K-State sports fan’s paradise. Posters and pictures line the walls and to top it off, it has a great view overlooking Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Thompson started his commentary career at Fort Hayes State University.

“It was a terrific training ground,” Thompson said.

From there, Thompson made his way to Colorado State University, where he assisted the main commentator. Later, he became the main commentator after his partner took another job.

“For the first couple of years there, I was actually the color guy,” Thompson said. “I developed relationships there that will last a life time and I’m most proud of that.”

One of those relationships that Thompson formed while at Colorado State was with Casey Scott, who is now his supervisor at K-State.

“I first met Wyatt when I joined the Athletics staff at Colorado State in 1998,” Scott said. “We have a tremendous working relationship and friendship that spans many years.”

Scott would later bring Thompson to K-State in 2002, as Thompson was a native Kansan and had proven himself to be an excellent broadcaster at Colorado State, Scott said.

But before that, Thompson found himself in Denver, where he worked for KOA radio station.

“I was basically the sports director of 50,000-watt Clear Channel Radio Station and that had a lot of responsibility to it,” Thompson said.

Thompson recalled one of the tough moments on the job in just his first day at KOA, referring to the moment when he had to cover a coach’s firing, which he had not had to do in his previous jobs.

“The first day on the job at KOA, the Broncos fired their defensive coordinator, Gregg Robinson,” Thompson said. “I had never even been to Dove Valley (Broncos training camp) and I was sent out there to go cover it so it was a rude awaking and yet it was the best thing that happened to me because it gave me exposure on so many different things that I had never experienced before that helped my career.”

It was K-State’s first time hiring its own radio personality after it parted ways with 580 WIBW radio station, which previously had the rights to K-State Sports.

“It was the first time in my career that I wasn’t employed by a radio station, a television station or a combination of both,” Thompson said.

Thompson said it wasn’t easy when he first came to K-State.

“Well, it was challenging when you are from the area. You think you really know virtually everything that’s going on and yet you don’t,” Thompson said. “You had to come in and get to know everybody.”

He had to build a relationship with his “color man” and partner Stan Weber.

“We made contact with each other and spent a lot of time on the phone, before he left the Denver area,” Weber said.

Weber and Thompson also have a friendship outside the broadcast booth.

“When we travel, we actually are roommates,” Weber said. “We are very compatible. It’s not just the broadcasting side, it’s being a friend and getting to know his family. It’s been a real honor and pleasure to work with him and be his friend.”

Another person Thompson had to get to know was the head football coach. The main challenge Thompson said, was coach Snyder had been use to the previous commentators that had been involved at K-State and now he had to feel his way into that role.

“Bill Snyder runs his football program a little bit different than most and so there was a transition there and trying to build a trustworthy relationship,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he has seen some big moments at K-State. One of his favorites came in 2003.

“You’ve got the Big 12 Championship with coach Snyder and for me that was one of the greatest thrills in my 40 years in broadcasting,” Thompson said.

During the 2003 game, K-State beat the Oklahoma Sooners, a team that some said, at the time, was the greatest college football team ever.

K-State basketball is another thrill for Thompson, referring mostly to various arenas around the Big 12.

“The basketball wasn’t as good and yet it was Big 12 basketball, and I was getting to do games at Allen (Fieldhouse) and Gallagher Iba (Arena) and at Hilton Coliseum,” Thompson said. “And for me that was like, this is the coolest thing ever, and I still feel that way fifteen years later.”

Thompson won multiple Broadcaster of the Year awards while at K-State.

“I get a little emotional talking about that,” Thompson said. “I’ve been so fortunate in my career to learn from some of the absolute greatest broadcasters in the history of this state.”

The games are not the thing that Thompson said he will remember most in his 40 years in the business.

“People are what make it special,” Thompson said.

Thompson had some advice to give for those who want to enter the broadcasting business. He said that you have to be excited about doing the games and all that comes with it.

“The obvious part, I can’t stress this one enough, you need to surround yourself with good people that will help you,” Thompson said.