Monaco: ‘I’m Brian Griese replacing John Elway’
LARAMIE -- When Reece Monaco signed his contract to become the new play-by-play voice of Wyoming Cowboy basketball, one name came to mind.
"It will be like replacing John Elway," Monaco laughed Monday evening, trying to explain what it will be like to replace legendary "Voice of the Cowboys," Dave Walsh, who has decided to step away from the hardwood and focus on Wyoming football.
"In some people's eyes, I will never live up to a legend," Monaco said.
He might just be one of those people.
Monaco, a UW graduate and native of Billings, Montana, said he is privileged to step in for a Hall of Fame broadcaster whose voice has become synonymous with Cowboy athletics for the past 36 seasons.
Is he nervous? Not when it comes to the gig itself.
"It's more exciting than anything," he said. "Dave is a legend. Generations of Wyoming fans grew up listening to Dave call football and basketball games. You can't replace him. You can only hope to step in, fill the void and do the best job you can to fill the gap.
"I hope Cowboys fans can trust me as much as him."
Monaco has been the play-by-play voice of the Cowgirl basketball team for nearly two decades. He was courtside when Wyoming won the NIT Championship in 2007 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament the following season.
Monaco has also served as the sideline reporter for Cowboy football the past nine seasons. In 2020, he will sit alongside longtime color commentator, Kevin McKinney.
Is this a dream job? Monaco didn't hesitate.
"Oh yeah, this is an incredible opportunity," he said. "When you are a broadcaster in Wyoming and there's only one Division-I university, if you don't dream of sitting at the Arena-Auditorium or War Memorial Stadium calling a game, I don't know what your priorities really are. It's been a dream of mine after being around Cowboy athletics as long as I have."
Now, like the rest of you, it's all about the waiting game.
When will the season start?
Will there be a season?
Those things have definitely crossed Monaco's mind, but that won't be stopping him from getting to know everything he can about his new team.
He says it's going to be a new start for everyone.
"I'm learning some names," Monaco joked. "There's a lot of new faces. Jeff Linder is in his first year so the thought was let's just start new with a head coach and a play-by-play guy. It's a good time to make the move. I am incredibly humbled and honored that they moved on with me."
Keith Kelley, Monaco's co-worker at 1240 KFBC in Cheyenne, will now take on the task of replacing Monaco on the girl's side.
He is replacing a legend in his own right.
And he used a familiar analogy.
"It's like trying to replace John Elway," Kelley said over the phone Monday night. "It's hard to replace those legends."
Kelley has been in Wyoming since 2003. When he first got here, he figured it would be just another stop in his broadcasting journey. Now, it's home.
Wyoming really grew on me from the get go," he said. "I am so appreciative of the fans and people that tune into UW Athletics. To be in the same group with a Dave Walsh and Reece Monaco is awesome.
"Wyoming is just a big ol' community and i am so grateful to be a part of it. From the bottom of my heart."