Article by Brandon Orgilbold

At the start of 2024, Doane University alum John Thayer ’08 won the South Dakota Sports Broadcaster of the Year Award presented by the state’s National Sports Media Association.

John Thayer
John Thayer ’08 helped launch the Tiger Sports Network during his time at Doane. Photo courtesy of John Thayer.

Thayer is from a small town — Eustis, Nebraska — around three hours away from Doane’s Crete campus.

Thayer was recruited to Doane for baseball and started his freshman year in 2004.

Unlike the sports broadcasting resources Doane has today, the program was just starting to come into its own back then.

“When John was at Doane, we were just beginning to broadcast our games via livestream,” said Cody Vance, assistant athletic director for community outreach at Doane. “I remember John announcing volleyball games at Doane. He was really good at it, and expressed a lot of enthusiasm.”

Thayer still produced great work, at first on the student radio station. 

"There were plenty of opportunities to broadcast games on the student radio station while I was there and I am very grateful for that," Thayer said.

During Thayer's senior year, he helped launch Tiger Sports Network and hosted the first broadcast on it. 

John Thayer
Thayer has worked at the University of South Dakota's Coyote Sports Network since 2013. Photo courtesy of John Thayer.

After his years at Doane, Thayer bounced around the nation working with various radio stations until one day he got a call to work with the University of South Dakota (USD) for sports broadcasting.

Today, Thayer broadcasts for USD’s football and men’s basketball teams.

He was on a flight to Montana to broadcast the men’s basketball game versus the University of Montana when he got the call breaking the news he won the prestigious award.

“It was very humbling,” Thayer said. “It was awesome to be voted by my colleagues and peers.”

Thayer will continue to work with USD in the future and set an example for aspiring sports broadcasters.

For those who want to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, Thayer offers some advice: “Stick with it.”