Barrys donate gift for Steve Jones Student Sports Broadcasting Complex

October 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. — Penn State Director of Athletics Tim Curley announced today a major gift from Richard and Susan Barry for the creation of the Steve Jones Student Sports Broadcasting Complex. Named for long-time Penn State broadcaster and College of Communications instructor Steve Jones, the state-of-the-art production center will be a major portion of a planned renovation of Rec Hall and offer hands-on experience to students pursuing careers in sports broadcasting.

"The generosity of the Barrys will enable the Athletic Department to create a uniquely robust broadcasting and production environment like never seen before," said Curley. "This complex will enrich the gameday experience for teams and fans alike, will provide Penn State students an incredible learning opportunity, and will be a game-changer in how we deliver live Penn State Athletics content to the Big Ten Network."

The gift is one of the largest in the history of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics, and it continues the philanthropic leadership of Rick and Sue Barry. Rick Barry graduated from Penn State in 1980 with a baccalaureate degree in political science, and his career in the financial industry has included posts at Merrill Lynch, Robertson Stephens Investment Management, and other leading companies. Rick retired earlier this year as the managing member and portfolio manager of Eastbourne Capital Management, a California-based investment firm he founded in 1999. The San Rafael, Ca. couple is among the University's most generous supporters, and their past commitments include gifts for the Abram Nesbitt, III Academic Commons and the John R. Murphy Student Services Center at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, where Rick began his Penn State education.

"We are excited to provide the funds for what we feel is a very important space both for athletics and academics," said Rick Barry, who first met Jones while both were Penn State students. "To have the complex named after someone that I was so close to while at the Wilkes-Barre campus and have watched grow into a legend in Penn State sports broadcasting history is a thrill for me. What Steve Jones has added to the legacy of Penn State broadcasting throughout his professional career, in addition to what he has been able to pass on to the next generation of broadcasters as an instructor in the classroom, is the essence of what this complex is all about."

The Steve Jones Student Broadcasting Complex will be housed in historic Rec Hall, located on the West side of Penn State's campus, and it will comprise two control rooms, an editing lab, an HD viewing room and Rec Hall's first dedicated media room.

"This project is a perfect match for its namesake," said Curley. "Steve's passion for his career as well as his dedication to teach the next generation of sports broadcasters and producers is unparalleled. This facility will enable Steve's legacy to live on in the students who will learn there through these hands-on experiences."

"The Steve Jones Student Sports Broadcasting Complex will be a spectacular additional home for real world experiences for students in the College of Communications," Doug Anderson, dean of the College, said. "We have hundreds of students majoring in broadcast journalism, along with scores more who are enrolled in our John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, who are interested in sports broadcasting or production.

"The opportunities we are able to offer our students have grown immensely over the past decade, but this facility will take us to a new level because our students now will be able to produce live sporting events for a national audience. And it is truly fitting that the students will be able to gain fabulous experience in a facility the Barrys have chosen to name for one of our most energetic, respected and valuable instructors."

A 1980 Penn State graduate with a degree in speech communication and broadcasting, Jones began doing radio play-by-play of Nittany Lion basketball games during his undergraduate career. He became voice of the men's basketball team in 1982 and debuted on the football broadcast with the 2000 Blue-White Game. In all, he has done radio play-by-play for nearly 900 Penn State basketball and football games.

Jones' responsibilities at Penn State also include hosting the "The Penn State Football Show" and the "Penn State Basketball Show" call-in programs every Thursday during the fall and winter, as well as producing the "Inside Penn State Athletics" segments for the Penn State Sports Network five days a week.

"I am truly humbled by the Barrys' thoughtfulness," said Jones. "While I am honored that this facility will bear my name, this project is really about the students. Rick and Sue's generosity will provide an exceptional learning environment for our students and I look forward to working with them in this new complex."

One of the complex's two control rooms will be dedicated to producing live, in-game elements to be displayed on the Rec Hall's videoboards. The second control room will replicate an environment typically found only in remote production vehicles like those utilized by the Big Ten Network. Each control room will be equipped with the same state-of-the-art switcher, character generator, replay machines, and cameras found on remote TV trucks covering sports around the country today.

The complex's HD viewing room will contain areas to view the live events produced in both control rooms and will also be available for project review, class presentations and guest speakers. The state-of-the-art editing lab will enable students to produce elements used both in-game during Rec Hall events as well as feature content used in on-line HD webcasts and on the Big Ten Network telecasts. The media room will be used for all varsity sporting events held in the building, including regular season and postseason events for men's and women's volleyball, men's and women's gymnastics, and wrestling.

Penn State has consulted with the Big Ten Network throughout the project's development on design, layout and functionality. The complex will be connected directly to the Big Ten Network's studio in Chicago. Intercollegiate Athletics anticipates producing over 60 Big Ten Student U broadcasts this academic year. Big Ten Student U programming consists of student-produced events that originally aired live on and are then rebroadcast on the linear network. This one-of-a-kind initiative from the Big Ten Network enables students at Big Ten universities interested in a career in sports broadcasting to get real-world working experience using state-of-the-art equipment.

"The Big Ten Network has opened up many educational opportunities for our students," said Curley. "The new broadcasting complex in Rec Hall is the intersection of world class education and tremendous visibility for our student-athletes."

"Penn State has always been at the head of the class assisting the network with first rate video content and event production," said Big Ten Network Senior Coordinating Producer Bob Lanning. "The Steve Jones Student Sports Broadcasting Complex will provide PSU students a very unique opportunity to broaden their skills even further. This cutting edge HD facility will no doubt provide students real world broadcasting experience as PSU takes the lead in preparing the next generation of Sports broadcasters and journalists."

The complex is among numerous upgrades planned for Rec Hall, including two new videoboards in the arena provided in part by gifts from Ira Lubert and Galen Dreibelbis. The new videoboards will create an energetic atmosphere with multiple live camera feeds, instant replays, dynamic animations, team logos, and real-time statistics for all events.

The 10.66' high x 25.6' wide displays will feature uncompressed video, creating the clearest images possible. The new videoboards will be installed over semester break and be part of the Rec Hall event experience by mid-January. The entire facility renovation is scheduled for completion on June 1, 2011.

  • Rec Hall

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated November 18, 2010