Veteran sports broadcaster Brent Balbinot is the new “Voice of the Rockets.” Beginning this fall, Balbinot will serve as play-by-play broadcaster for football and men’s basketball, and host the respective coaches’ radio shows.
The University of Toledo Athletic Department and its exclusive multimedia rights holder, Learfield, announced the hire last week.
Balbinot, who brings nearly 25 years of sports broadcasting and related experience to Toledo, spent the last 12 years at his alma mater, the University of Iowa, serving as play-by-play voice for Hawkeyes’ women’s basketball and baseball. Balbinot also filled in at play-by-play for men’s basketball, and over the years held other related roles, including host of the call-in radio shows and complete oversight of the daily sports feature for Hawkeye Radio Network.
He has been immersed in sports media in the state of Iowa since 1993, handling play-by-play duties and serving as a news/sports director for a variety of stations: KLEH AM, KMCH FM, KQWC AM/FM, KXIC AM, WMT AM and KGYM AM. Additionally, he has served as a sports writer for HawkeyeReport.com the past three years.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Brent join the Rockets’ family,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “Not only is his background impressive, he comes highly recommended from our friends at Iowa. It’s obvious the fans, coaches and administrators at Iowa embraced Brent and the quality of his work there for over a decade. We look forward to introducing him to our Rocket fans with the start of the football season.”
According to Luke Reiff, general manager for Learfield’s local Rocket Sports Properties, Balbinot was the top choice resulting from a comprehensive national search. “We set out to identify the best talent for the Rockets, and we’re really pleased about Brent coming here. He’s going to be a great fit, and we can’t wait for the first kickoff on Sept. 2.”
Balbinot replaces Mark Beier, who retired from his duties as the Rockets’ football and men’s basketball play-by-play announcer in March after 21 years behind the microphone.
“Rocket athletics has a long and rich history, not just on the field or the court, but in the broadcast booth. I am honored to be following such a respected sportscaster in Mark Beier,” Balbinot said.
Rocket Sports Properties works closely with O’Brien and his administration and has direct oversight of talent and station affiliates associated with the UT Health Rocket Sports Radio Network.
Learfield has an extensive history in the collegiate athletics landscape. In addition to Toledo, the company manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, in addition to supporting athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup.