Wheeling Park grad Pavilack hired as SID at Texas State
San Marcos, Texas seems like a world away from the Ohio Valley.
Located in the heart of the Lonestar State, the town of nearly 63,000 is a growing community between the much larger cities of Austin and San Antonio along I-35.
As it expands, so has San Marcos’ largest college — Texas State University. With an enrollment of nearly 38,000, the school has quickly become a destination of higher learning throughout the region.
Athletes are pouncing on the school’s education opportunities, too. So much so that, during the last decade, the school has become a member of the Sun Belt Conference and its football program has risen to the level of FBS.
Jacob Pavilack has seen plenty of FBS football the last six years. And now, after spending that time broadcasting from the gridiron at Kent State University, the Wheeling native has joined the team at Texas State as an assistant director of sports information.
“It’s a great landing spot,” said Pavilack, who’ll be the secondary football contact and handle women’s basketball and softball duties. “(The school) has made a big emphasis with athletics during the past few years. It’s in a perfect location. It’s a prime area for recruiting.”
It wasn’t hard for school brass to recruit Pavilack to the school. With the goal of becoming an athletic director at an NCAA Division I institution atop his wish list, Pavilick found Texas State the place best-suited to begin that journey.
“It’s a great place to get my foot in the door,” he said.
When Pavilack first walked through the doors of Wheeling Park High School, little did he know he’d embark on a career in athletics, let alone one that included broadcasting.
He soon realized, though, he got more of a kick out of calling games then playing in them. With a radio station in the actual school building — Park is one of few schools that has an actual radio station and television station — Pavilack quickly became enamored with broadcasting.
“I just fell in love with it,” he remembered.
With the help of teachers Scott Nolte and Dave Flatley, Pavilack continued to hone his craft, so much so that, after starting at Kent State in the fall of 2013, he soon realized that calling games was his, well, calling.
“I was just itching to get back into sports,” Pavilack recalled. “During my first semester (at Kent), I did the public address for women’s soccer and field hockey. Then, my role expanded with each semester.”
Later, his public address work helped him land a position calling football and men’s and women’s basketball games on the radio.
And for most of his time at Kent, Pavilack was a familiar voice to those listening to Golden Flashes’ football broadcasts as the radio team’s sideline reporter.
“You’re right there along the field,” he said. “You can hear what the players and coaches are saying. It’s really a great experience.”
Especially when one considers the strength of Kent’s schedule recently.
“I always tell people we’ve been to some college football greatest cathedrals” he said. “We’ve played at Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Auburn, Ohio State, Arizona State — really the full gamut.
“There’s not a style of offense that this team hasn’t seen.”
Not bad for a guy that started out doing games in the OVAC.
“It really hit me one year when we were playing Alabama and I thought, ‘Three years ago I was a senior in high school doing games and we’d be in little press boxes in small towns,'” he recalled. “To go from that to a place like Alabama was just wild.”
Pavilack credits his longtime broadcast partners Ty Linder and Rob Polinsky for helping him improve as a broadcaster.
“They sort of let me break down the plays, Xs and Os wise,” he explained. “I’ll talk to the head coach on the field at halftime and postgame and get his thoughts.”
But, although, he spent a large portion of his life traveling cross-country the last few years, he never forgot the impact the folks at Park had on shaping his career.
“If I didn’t have Wheeling Park, there’s no way I’d do what I did at Kent,” said Pavilack, who said he didn’t take a single broadcasting class after high school. “Those guys were instrumental in getting me into the business.”
Although he’s working in Texas, Pavilack will be finishing his Master’s Degree in Sport Recreation Management at Kent online and graduate in December. But while he’ll be working thousands of miles away, the Ohio Valley won’t be far from his mind.
“There’s nothing better than being in those great moments, and high school sports are great for those,” he said. “If you don’t have that good, early foundation, you can be in trouble.”