Editor’s Note: The East Texas Radio Group, CBS19, the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com will combine to update sports fans each Friday night (as well as Thursday and Saturday) during the high school football season. Each week Harlen the Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob will have The Friday Night Scoreboard Show. They begin things tonight with The Friday Night Scoreboard Show Preview Special from 7 to midnight on KKUS 104.1-FM, The Ranch, Tyler-Longview; and KYKX 105.7-FM, Tyler-Longview. It will feature interviews with coaches and media about the upcoming season. We thought it would be a good time to get to know the guys. Here is a recent with the guys.
Harlen the Sports Guy
Family life: (married, single, kids, etc.) Engaged (May 18th!), Daughter, 15.
Favorite professional teams: Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers.
Favorite college football team: Texas Tech Red Raiders AND whoever is playing U.T.!!!
Favorite athlete: Charlie Waters! Strong safety for the Cowboys in the 70s.
Favorite football quote: “Take ‘em one game at a time!” —Pigskin Bob
Dream vehicle: 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche from Patterson in Kilgore.
If Hollywood ever makes a movie about you, which actor will portray you? Bruce Willis
Age: 21 and older.
Family life: (married, single, kids, etc.) All of the above.
Favorite professional football team: Dallas Cowboys.
Favorite college football team: Texas A&M- Commerce Lions.
Favorite athlete: Roger Staubach.
Favorite football quote: “You gotta give it 110%!!!” —Harlen the Sports Guy
Dream vehicle: 1971 Chevrolet Pickup.
If Hollywood ever makes a movie about you, which actor will portray you? Matthew McConaughey.
Question & Answer
How did you come to be known as Harlen The Sports Guy/Pigskin Bob?
HTSG: Before we ever went on the air, one of our DJs always called me “The Sports Guy.” Then, when I started doing some on-air work, it just came naturally ... Harlen The Sports Guy!
PB: The first time Harlen asked me to come on the air with him, he started calling me Pigskin Bob, and I HATED it at first! It stuck, and now I love it! The kids at my daughter’s school actually call her “Lil’ Pigskin!” How great is that?!
You guys have done more than 100 shows. In the beginning, did you think that the show was something you would still be doing 10 years down the road?
HTSG: I just hoped someone would eventually call!!!! No, I had no idea it would become as popular as it has.
PB: NO! I thought it was just a way to pass the time for one season. We just kept having so much fun; they haven’t pulled the plug yet. ...
This season your show is going to be simulcast on 104.1 The Ranch. How does this make your show better?
HTSG: I’m really excited that management decided to do this. It will allow us to reach further south and west of Tyler. Get ready Athens, Wills Point, Palestine, Frankston, Lindale, Van, etc. … “We’re comin’ to YOUR city!”
PB: I won’t rest until we’re on EVERY station in our group!
What’s the key to success for the show?
HTSG: The fun we have with the callers! You can get the scores from lots of sources in 20 minutes. Our listeners seem to stick around for the fun we have with each other and the callers.
PB: We don’t take ourselves seriously AT ALL!! The games and the outcomes are serious, but we’re not! We want to get our listeners all the scores and insight we can, but then we just try to make each other laugh, and hope the listeners think we’re funny too.
You took some heat from somewhere early in the season because your show wasn’t serious enough. Your answer, if I recall, was to be even less serious on your show later that week. Football is serious business in Texas, and especially in East Texas, but what is your advice to someone who is a little too serious (keep it clean)?
HTSG: It is serious! We live and die with East Texas teams each year. But for a three-and-a-half hour radio show to survive, it has to be entertaining as well. When we started this show, we knew that half of East Texas was driving home from some game somewhere. We thought a show that gives the scores, as well as, has a little fun might be something those folks might enjoy.
PB: Our football show is part of the beautiful fabric that is East Texas High School Football. Our goal is to continue the fun even when the Friday Night Lights have turned off.
This year, you are taking High School Football to another level with the KYKX Saturday Night Game of the Week. How did this come about?
HTSG: Several years ago, there was a game I really wanted to see. But since we go on the air at 8:30 p.m., we don’t get to see very many games. And I thought; man, wouldn’t it be great if every week there was one great game played on Saturday so everyone who wanted to see it could go, and not miss their game. About an hour later, the light bulb went off; Harlen, you can do this!! It took several years of planning and figuring out what all it would take to make it work, and talking and learning from coaches. We will have five games this season and next, and then we hope to make it an every week event.
PB: I thought Harlen was crazy at first! But this could really turn out to be what Monday Night Football is for the NFL for East Texas High School Football!
You attend at least one pep rally each week. How and when did that start?
HTSG: We award a Coach Of The Year award each season. Well the first year, we selected Andy Evans of Tatum High School. We thought it would be fun to present it to him in front of his school at a pep rally. Well, we had a great time; the kids seem to think it was really cool, so we scheduled a couple more. By the third one, schools from all over East Texas were calling and asking us to come to theirs. We hate that now we have turned some schools down each year.
PB: I don’t know!!! Harlen made me go!
What is the most memorable thing that has happened to you at a pep rally?
HTSG: The first time we walked into Hughes Springs High School. The kids all had made little signs, they had banners up everywhere, the cheerleaders were all dressed in shirts with our names on them, and it was crazy! I knew then that this was growing, fast!
PB: We gave Union Grove High School 24 hours notice, and they thanked us for coming by taking us to Hawaii with their band. I’ve never seen Harlen speechless, but we BOTH were on that day!
Which area football coach is the most fun to talk to in the days leading up to a game?
HTSG: Oh man, there are so many characters coaching in East Texas. ... Barry Bowman is so warm and honest, he makes you want to play for him. Jeff Traylor is so fired up. He cares so much about his players and his school, it’s contagious.
PB: Each Friday morning John King (Longview) comes to the station to record his coach’s show for our sister station Sunny 106.5, and he always has time for a cup of coffee, tell us how the team is doing, and always has a great story. He’s not afraid to let us in on a little behind the scenes of what really happened, or what was really said. He’s the John Wayne of High School Football coaches!
Drumlines have been known to drop by the studio on Friday night during the show. How did that get started, and do you remember which was the first school to send their drum line to the studio?
HTSG: It started as a fake bit we did with some pre-recorded drum cadences, just to be, I don’t know, exciting, and to celebrate some of the schools. Then, the second year, The Hallsville Drumline REALLY showed up! I was floored!!! Several Drumlines have actually come by now.
PB: Harlen’s the drummer, that was his deal. But he’s right, to have the kids really come up here and play after playing all night, is pretty remarkable.
Ever thought about doing a Friday night basketball call-in show?
HTSG: Hey, if someone’ll sponsor it, we’ll do it!
PB: No, but we have moms and dads ask us to give scores for any sport their kid participates in, from volleyball, to JV football, seventh grade football, to tennis. We’ve thought someday this might go year-round ... who knows?
If you could have one special guest drop by the studio on a Friday night, who would that be and why?
HTSG: My brother Lincoln. He lives in Ohio (and listens on-line), he can’t believe his idiot brother does a radio show that people actually call in and listen to.
PB: My high school coach Jerry Bennett (now coaching in Linden-Kildare). He is one of the best storytellers in high school football. He would fit in great with this cast of characters!
Any changes ahead for next year’s show?
HTSG: Wow … with the additional signal, and the Games of the Week, I don’t know what that would be, but I’ve learned to never say never, never! Making the Game of the Week a 10-week deal is my biggest goal.
PB: I’m trying to sell management on a one-hour preview show from 6-7. The same folks listening after the games are headed to their game or are tailgating, and they want to get ready for a great night of high school football too. Not enough hours in the day!