Voice of athletics: From the farm to the arena

Written by Muleskinner Staff

shawnjonesStory by JOANNE GASKELL, for The Muleskinner—
He stood alone, with only the surrounding hills and cows to look at, no houses to be seen and no children to be heard. Just himself and his imagination.
Shawn Jones had a lonely childhood. He was an only child who lived on a farm.
No sister or brother to kick a football to and no neighbors to play a game of basketball with. The young boy, who had a love for sports, just let his mind explore.
Jones drifted away into his own world, not knowing it would take him to the place he is today.
He is a man who speaks with confidence and passion both on and off the air with a sense of contentedness and loyalty.
“I grew up on a farm. I was an only child so I had to go out in the back garden and make up games,” Jones said. “I found myself involved in lots of sporting events by myself and calling the game out like I watched on television.”
He is now the voice of UCM Athletics. He serves as the lead play-by-play announcer and he is also the host and coordinating producer of UCM’s weekly one-hour television show, “Sports Page.”
Jones, now senior athletic director, graduated from UCM in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication.
He also worked in the athletics department, where he did color commentary for the Mules and Jennies. That’s when he made a decision to better his career.
“I went back to school and got my master’s here in athletic administration, physical education exercise science with an emphasis in athletic and sport business administration,” Jones said. “That helped me expand my career a little bit.”
Jones returned to UCM in 2000 and he has expanded “Sports Page” from 30 minutes to one hour. The Bronze Telly Award-winning program airs on KMOS-TV. The Central Missouri Sports Radio Network has also expanded.
Jones also oversees UCM’s cooperate sponsor program and has played a role in the success of UCM’s biggest fundraising event, the Celebrating Central Missouri Athletic Auction.
That event has raised more than $1.3 million for UCM Athletics in its 11-year history.
His efforts in promotions have been recognized by the NCAA News and NACMA, with many of UCM’s athletic promotions featured as Ideas That Work by the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Initiative.
Jerry Hughes, director of athletics, has known Jones since he was a student at UCM and has seen him become a well respected and important employee.
“He has really developed into a very knowledgeable, successful employee who works very hard and is passionate about what he does,” Hughes said.
Hughes described Jones as a perfectionist and a man with many talents who has brought presence and energy to UCM.
“He’s a very good writer and obviously a very good public speaker. He’s also a passionate and a very talented broadcaster on the radio,” Hughes said. “Fans are able to relate to him. Like a good radio broadcaster, he’s able to paint a picture.”
Jones said the demands of his job impacts the time he has for his family.
He said he and his wife, Melissa, and two children don’t have time to do the things that traditional families do.
“We had a big baseball tournament the first week of February in Houston, and that’s a blast, but that’s six days I was gone from my family,” he said. “I get back, I’m home one night and I went on the road for three days with the basketball teams.
“With a family, the hours sometimes do get to you. Even though you enjoy the job, the bottom line is when you have a family, you’re away from your family.”
Jones is proud of his achievements, but said it isn’t just his own successes that make him proud.
“I think I’m proudest of what we have accomplished here where we have started from scratch with everything,” Jones said. “Watching our teams have success, that’s a lot of fun. I’m very proud of seeing our teams succeed and seeing people that you care about have success. I think that’s very enjoyable.”