News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

February 6, 2007

Given to Fly: Bringing a different slant to radio broadcasts

A former NFL player filling the role as color commentator for a college women’s basketball team is unusual, but a Terre Haute native is a perfect fit.

Ernie Thompson, a standout football player at Terre Haute North High School and Indiana University, is new to the broadcast waves and he’s loving every minute of it.

Thompson played in 20 NFL games — four during the 1991 season for the Los Angeles Rams and 16 with the Kansas City Chiefs two seasons later. Thompson made a 12-yard touchdown reception for the Rams in 1991.

Thompson has developed his knowledge of the Sycamores’ women’s team since Melanie Boeglin and Kristen Weddle began playing. Thompson, who also has been employed at Gold’s Gym in the past, began off-season training with the Terre Haute natives and ISU standouts when Boeglin and Weddle were ISU sophomores. He has volunteered his time with the program since, getting to know many of the players during summer workouts in 2006.

Thompson’s radio stint began with ISU’s trip to Pine Bluff, Ark., for a game against the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions. With the student broadcasters at WISU-FM 89.7 unable to make that road trip and many others throughout the rest of the season, ISU associate director of media relations Ace Hunt took over play-by-play duties on the road.

Hunt asked Thompson to join him and they’ve called every ISU road game since. Thompson heads on the road today with the team to Springfield, Mo., for Thursday’s game at Missouri State and on to Wichita, Kan., to call the Sycamores against the Wichita State Shockers.

“He travels with us, so we might as well put him to work a little bit,” ISU coach Jim Wiedie said with a wink. “Our fans are really happy that Ace is doing the play-by-play and we’ve got good feedback on Ernie. I think that’s really important to us to have someone that knows and understands us.”

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