Zach Mackey can add his first nationally syndicated play-by-play to his resume.
Zach Mackey keeps a bulletin board in his bedroom where he tacks all of the press credentials he’s accrued during his broadcasting career.
A senior at the University of Iowa, Mackey can add his first nationally syndicated play-by-play credential to the board.
After Hawkeyes radio play-by-play legend Gary Dolphin fell and injured his knee, Mackey was asked to do the radio call for the
Iowa men’s basketball game against Drake at the Wells Fargo Arena, in Des Moines, on Dec. 16.
“When you are a college student going to (Iowa) it’s something you dream about,” said Mackey, a Geneseo graduate. “When you’re in my position, if the guy who is the voice of the school goes down, are you ready to fill in for him?”
With only a few days to prepare, Mackey made his national debut.
Working with veteran color commentator Bobby Hansen, Mackey was able to tap into the rhythm of the game in the second half and get comfortable calling the Hawkeyes’ 90-64 drumming of the Bulldogs.
With a bigger stage, Mackey also had to be able to manage the extra responsibility of reading all the sponsored ads during breaks in the action.
Dolphin was able to make a quick recovery, and he returned to action after missing just one game.
However, the fact that Hawkeye Sports Properties’ general manager Gabe Aguirre reached out to Mackey shows the level of trust they have in him.
“It gives you some confidence that they think you can do this at the highest level,” Mackey said. “It’s kind of nice to have an indication that they do have confidence in me, and that I am able to do it.”
Mackey has also filled in for Jim Albrecht on the hour pre- and post-game football show during the Hawkeyes’ games against Michigan State and Purdue, this fall.
Mackey hosted the syndicated show which features segments with interviews, predictions and a preview of the upcoming game with a check in from Dolphin in the booth.
Looking back, Mackey sometimes finds it hard to believe how far he has come.
The week before homecoming, during his senior in high school, Mackey e-mailed Dolphin to see if he could come up in the press box and watch the Iowa football game against Central Michigan.
Four years later, Mackey was hosting the Iowa pregame show and talking with Dolphin about the upcoming game.
“It’s crazy how fast things can work,” Mackey said. “It’s something I didn’t really expect going into all this, but it seems like if you keep working opportunities seem to arise.”
Mackey was able to broadcast the Hawkeyes’ baseball games as they competed in the World University Games which is considered to be a mini-Olympics.
Competing in Taipei, Taiwan, the Iowa baseball team earned a silver medal after competing in pool play against teams from Japan and Russia.
Considering Mackey to be a part of the team, Iowa coach Rick Heller made sure Mackey received a silver medal to go along with his Big Ten championship ring the baseball team won in the spring.
“I didn’t even swing a single bat or throw a single pitch,” said Mackey laughingly.