No stranger to speaking to crowds of sports fans, Tom Caron '86 reminded the group of more than 100 people assembled to hear him not that long ago, "I was you."
Caron, or TC, as he's known affectionately to the millions of New England sports fans who tune him in regularly on New England Sports Network (NESN), was remembering people and experiences from his Saint Michael's student days, which he credits for launching his professional success.
"The course that was the most important to me here at St. Mike's was the course or path the college laid out to allow me to get to where I wanted to be," said Caron, an award-winning Boston-based sportscaster known best as the popular studio host for NESN's Boston Red Sox TV broadcasts. He also covers college hockey plus minor league hockey and baseball, and he once did Boston Bruins studio shows.
Caron spent the better part of January 28 on campus meeting and greeting old friends and mentors along with current students, after a warm and spirited alumni event at Halverson’s Restaurant in downtown in Burlington where alumni peppered Caron with questions—mostly about the Red Sox.
Both days, he recounted one great story after another about his friendships and adventures with such Sox icons as Nomar Garciaparra, David "Big Papi" Ortiz, co-hosts Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice, Jerry Remy, and many more. He also relived defining Sox World Series moments, such as sharing the milestone 2004 win on the phone with his 80-something dad and his son who was then eight, or almost getting fired from WPTZ, a station in Plattsburgh, New York, when he could scarcely contain, on the air, his exasperation after the 1986 "Bill Buckner" debacle against the Mets.
Caron spoke to journalism students at Tuesday's luncheon in the same secondfloor Alliot Vermont Room where, as he told them, he used to work on the student newspaper the Defender, as sports editor. Introducing and escorting him was Lou DiMasi, Associate Dean of Students, another old friend from the sportscaster's days covering St. Mike's hockey teams that DiMasi coached in the '80s.
Caron told students that his first-ever TV sports report was covering a table tennis tournament in Middlebury for WPTZ, where he’d interned as a junior and senior. The station asked him to cover the story at the last minute, forcing him to make the then-epic and wrenching decision to miss P-Day. In retrospect, Caron says, he knows he made the right call, because that report led to another WPTZ assignment, and a few months after graduation they called him to be a weekend anchor based on the skill he'd demonstrated. From there his career was off and running.
Stops en route to NESN included a tiny station in White River Junction, Vermont, then stations in his home state of Maine, including work as a broadcaster and publicist of Portland's minor league hockey team. NESN officials saw his work from that period, liked what they saw and hired him in 1995. He's worked there ever since.
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