With Florida Atlantic leading late in its Elite Eight game against Kansas State on Saturday, Ken LaVicka, the play-by-play man on the FAU Radio Network, knew that there was a high probability he’d soon be announcing that the Owls were headed to the Final Four for the first time in program history.
Then, disaster struck.
The power in the FAU broadcast went out. LaVicka was left scrambling, improvising a way to get the broadcast back up and running.
Following the game, LaVicka spoke with Andy Katz and described what happened.
“All of the ethernet along this front row here at Madison Square Garden went out with 18.6 seconds left. And we actually got saved by a Kansas State layup and a timeout called by Jerome Tang. That gave me time to scramble. And you saw me, Andy. It was getting a little rough. A life’s dream is crumbling before me. I grabbed from that second table an ethernet cord, plug it into my broadcast equipment. One of my teammates from ESPN West Palm in West Palm Beach sitting next to me, held the comrex unit while I called the final 15 seconds of the game and the day was saved.”
LaVicka then recalled for Katz the final call.
“I said ‘Houston, you have a problem. Florida Atlantic is coming to win a championship,’ or along those lines. ”
Ken LaVicka of the FAU Radio network had quite a hectic final minute of his broadcast. You can’t make this up. He nearly missed his career call for @FAUMBB to go to @MarchMadnessMBB @MFinalFour: pic.twitter.com/H3gRXsFZYG
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) March 26, 2023
Amazingly, listening to the final seconds, there was no sign that anything was different than normal. LaVicka’s recollection of his call was close to exactly accurate and it came across clearly, only swapping out “championship” for “trophy.”
Nothing in his voice indicated that his focus was on anything other than the game.
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 26, 2023
Regardless of how the rest of the tournament plays out for FAU, it’s unlikely that LaVicka will experience anything quite like this in Houston.