The first time Randy Gordon watched a high school football game from the press box was this season when the former Dickinson Trinity head coach of 26 years was invited to sit in the coaches’ box and watch his former team at the Biesiot Activities Center.
Gordon will experience another first as he steps in front of the camera and behind the microphone to do color commentary for the North Dakota Class 2A football championship between Bismarck St. Mary’s and Wahpeton during the Dakota Bowl beginning at 2 p.m. today at the Fargodome.
“They were looking for coaches in each division and my name kept popping up,” Gordon said. “They asked me and I thought to myself this is going to be kind of fun. It’s a good excuse to get there. I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m willing to give it a shot.”
This football season marked the first time in 36 years Gordon wasn’t standing on the sidelines as a head coach. He said it has been a different experience and there’s no doubt he misses coaching.
“I know I miss coaching and I always will, because it is in my blood,” Gordon said. “One thing that I don’t miss is all the maintaining. Coaching football was a 12-month job. … That’s the part I don’t miss, but that’s always going to be part of the job. I do miss coaching and I always will.”
During Gordon’s tenure as a head coach, he spent plenty of time talking with various media outlets but he admitted there are a few nerves about being on camera.
Regardless, Gordon knows it’s going to be helpful to be on TV with the play-by-play duo of Dom Izzo of WDAY and Pat Sweeney of WDAZ. Both sports broadcasters are employed by Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press and has the broadcast rights to the Dakota Bowl.
“They are good at what they do,” Gordon said. “I’ll just sit there and say whatever comes to mind and whatever I’m asked to do. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s kind of an honor to be asked.”
Though this will be Gordon’s first on-camera appearance during the Dakota Bowl, he is no stranger to the event. He coached the Titans to three state titles, the last in 2005 and back-to-back wins in 2000 and 2001.
“It is a whole different picture sitting up top,” Gordon said. “You don’t get to see much from the sidelines. You see much more from up there.”
Mike Schatz, who was a long-time head coach at New England, was going to be the color commentator for the Class 1A title game between Hazen and Milnor-North Sargent, which begins at 11:05 a.m. today.
However, he stepped down after his son, Nathan, was seriously injured in a car accident.
As the head coach of New England-Regent and New England-Regent-St. Mary’s, Mike Schatz won four 9-man state titles, including three straight from 1995 to 1997. Nathan was a part of the three straight state titles and quarterbacked the 1997 to a 16-14 win over Rolette-Wolford.