Mark Liptak, a sports media veteran with experience in radio and print, has acted as the play-by-play broadcaster for the women’s basketball team since 2008.
Since taking over the mic in 2008, Liptak has covered over 250 ISU women’s basketball games.
“Everybody’s put here to do something,” he said. “I wasn’t good enough of an athlete to be a professional player, can’t really sing or dance, so this is what I do. I enjoy it. I get a big kick out of it … Everybody was put here for a purpose, and I guess this is mine.”
Liptak, who also helps covers ISU football games, kicked off his media career in 1978 with a position at the University of Kentucky’s student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.
He first tried his hand at sports play-by-play broadcasting on the campus radio station—little did he know, it would lead to his future career.
The Bengal announcer then spent a 15-year stint in television, working at an ABC station in Lexington, a CBS station in Monroe, Louisiana and Idaho’s KPVI.
In the 90s, KIDK asked Liptak to do play-by-play for some women’s basketball and volleyball games, and a decade later, he was the voice for all women’s basketball games.
“I was born with the ability to speak well,” he said. “I thought, ‘well, okay, why don’t we give this a shot?’”
Liptak acts in his role with enthusiasm, calling out “Ka-boom!” after the swish of a three-pointer and ending a Bengal win with “Put that one in the Bengal bank.”
His work doesn’t start when the game does, though.
By the time he takes the microphone, much of Liptak’s work is already done.
He communicates with sports information officials about name pronunciations, probable starting lineups, benched players and obtains a general overview of the opposing team.
Collecting statistical information before the game improves his coverage, he said.
Since he’s already talked to opposing coaches, officials and sports information officials, he can include details that go much farther than point and rebound averages during his broadcasts.
“It’s the little things you pick up from talking to people and from looking at the box scores that, in my opinion, make your broadcast better,” Liptak said. “It’s no different from being a student. It’s no different from being a coach or a player—you’ve got to do your homework.’
During football season, Liptak helps provide radio coverage for ISU. He spent nine years as ISU football’s studio host before taking on his color analyst job.
In his off time, Liptak stays busy improving his home and lawn. Sometimes the offseason is harder, he said, since his to-do list is as long as his arm.
When the women’s basketball team is on the court, though, he’s hard at work and loving every minute of it.
Not only does he enjoy the job itself, he also enjoys being around the coaches and players, he said.
“These are really good people. These are people, in many cases, like the players, who are so good at just about everything. I mean, academically, socially, they’re really good athletes,” Liptak said. “They’re just a pleasure to be around. … There’s a lot of laughter, a lot of jokes, one-liners, occasionally they’ll start singing. I think it’s cool. I just like being around that. Maybe it keeps me young.”