Cavalier Corner

December 2021

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DECEMBER 2021 5 O n the night he called his first men's basketball game as the "Voice of the Cavaliers," John Freeman arrived at John Paul Jones Arena hours before tipoff. Freeman, who grew up in nearby Crozet, had been in perpetual motion for weeks. But now, in an empty arena, he had a few minutes to reflect on his journey back to his alma mater and his new role with the Virginia Sports Radio Network. "There was a moment when I just breathed in deep and said, 'Please, nobody wake me up from this dream. Don't pinch me, don't wake me up,'" recalled Freeman, a 2009 graduate of the University of Virginia. "It still doesn't feel real." Freeman was living in Nashville, Tenn., and working in TV and radio when his dream job suddenly opened. In October, his friend Dave Koehn, the "Voice of the Cavaliers" since July 2008, accepted an offer to be- come the radio play-by-play announcer for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. "You never really get to choose when an opportunity knocks on your door," said Freeman, who majored in media studies at UVA. "You just have to choose to take it, and that's what happened to me." In what amounted to an extended audition, Freeman handled the play-by-play responsibilities for four UVA football games, starting Oct. 9 at Louisville, while he and other candidates for the full-time position were being evaluated. The suspense ended for Freeman Nov. 8, when the UVA athletics department and Playfly Sports Properties announced his hiring. The response from friends and colleagues overwhelmed Freeman, a graduate of Western Albemarle High School. "It's been incredible," he said. "I'm just amazed at how many people view this job so highly. They love this school; they love this athletic department." Freeman grew up attending UVA men's and women's basketball games at University Hall. On the drive home, his family would listen to the postgame shows on the radio. "I grew up listening to it, and before you knew it," Free- man said, "I became a huge Virginia sports fan." He's called countless UVA games over the years, in sports rang- ing from lacrosse to soccer to basketball, as well as broadcasts for Major League Soccer's Nashville SC, Tennessee State, VCU and the Atlantic 10 Network, among many others. He's worked for NewsRadio 1070 WINA in Charlottesville. Until this fall, however, he could never call himself the "Voice of the Cavaliers." "I really try and avoid clichés when I'm going on the radio, but there's no way to describe this more than a dream come true," Free- man said. "It's incredible. I can't believe the turn of life, and I'm so thrilled to be here." — Jeff White behind the scenes The New "Voice Of The Cavaliers" John Freeman Freeman cavalier sports

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