“Happy Saturday night, which can only mean one thing: Football is back in the Arizona desert. Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats are very happy to get a chance to get back on the field after a disappointing 2016 season.”
And, with that, Kate Scott was on the air — and making Pac-12 history.
Scott’s appearance on camera as the play-by-play voice of Saturday night’s Arizona-NAU game on Pac-12 Networks capped hours of research spread over multiple weeks. She watched film of both teams and memorized the names and numbers of nearly 200 players. By the time Saturday’s game kicked off around 8 p.m., Scott — the first woman to call a Pac-12 Networks football game — was ready to go.
“Prepping for football is unlike anything else,” she said. “So many more players, more content to devour.”
Scott’s workday began around 5 p.m., when she arrived at Arizona Stadium. She was in the open-air television booth a half-hour later.
While Scott took care of “billboards” for the game sponsors — Dr. Pepper, Mitsubishi Motors and Buick, to name a few — Pac-12 Networks analyst Glenn Parker walked the Arizona Stadium turf, doing some game prep of his own. The former UA and NFL offensive lineman talked to coaches and support-staffers from both sides, looking for any last-minute insights.
“I still get butterflies even now,” he said. “I get jittery and can’t stop moving before the game is about to start.”
The 34-year-old Scott, meanwhile, seemed calm. She showed off a new pair of eyeglasses. Arizona Stadium’s press box is famously far away from the field, and Scott needed the extra help.
“Last year, I was here for the Washington-Arizona women’s basketball game and I couldn’t see Chantel Osahor’s number and she’s number zero. That’s when I knew I needed glasses,” she said. “I am happy Arizona picked red tonight because it pops. I am hoping NAU is in white.”
The Lumberjacks wore all white.
Ninety minutes before kickoff, Scott and Parker took part in a Facebook Live chat. They talked about their schools —Scott went to Cal, while Parker’s a Wildcat — and the difference between Cal’s “Go Bears” and UA’s “Bear Down.”
Around 7:15 p.m., Scott took an elevator to the field. There, she talked to UA coach Rich Rodriguez and watched warmups. Then she went back upstairs, reviewed her notes and — like any performer or athlete — quietly focused for the broadcast.
By kickoff, the silence was gone. The Arizona Stadium crowd roared.
With one quarter in the books, Scott got a thumbs-up from her partner, who she called “a calming presence.”
By then, Scott was in midseason form.
“I started feeling good,” she said, “and settling in.”