Sportscasters recount Bob Wolff’s influence on their careers
Hall of Fame sportscaster Bob Wolff spent almost eight decades in the broadcasting business -- and while he was building his own career, other high-profile names in the business say he helped build theirs, too.
Wolff, a News 12 veteran, died Saturday. He was 96.
WFAN's Mike Francesa was one of many St. John's students who learned from Wolff, who was also a professor there.
"If you can be excited...and bring that energy and enthusiasm to it, you're going to have a great career," Francesa says. "And Bob did that every day."
Samantha Ryan, who now works at the MLB Network, also learned from Wolff.
"I'm nothing -- I don't have this career without his guidance," she says. Wolff was the first one to put Ryan on TV in the 1990s. She says he encouraged her and gave her self-confidence at a time when there were few female sportscasters.
"He believed in you as a person," Ryan says. "This was 20 years ago, when there were so many people who wouldn't give you a chance. I didn't feel that at News 12."
Mike Breen is the current TV voice of the Knicks, a job Wolff once held.
"As a sportscaster and as play-by-play guy, he was a legend -- and that is an overused term: He was royalty," Breen says. "As a kind, wonderful man, he was the king."
Wolff also influenced the career of another famous sportscaster named Bob -- Commack native Bob Costas.