If the name Taylor Drew doesn’t ring a bell, her face and voice from countless men’s basketball games probably will. The sophomore history major has become the first consistent emcee of Loyola Athletics, bringing a student face to the big screen at men’s basketball games.
Before having Drew, director of marketing Brian Day said the only time Loyola basketball had emcees — on-court announcers for Loyola home games — was for special events such as Jesuit Jam. Athletics department interns used to have to be on the court to do the contests fans are familiar with, according to junior intern Andy McDonnell. Now, Drew handles those responsibilities, and the interns help make sure she gets proper instructions on where and when to go on the court.
“Some schools will have like a local radio personality or, like, an adult [announcing], but I think since she’s a student, I think the students really connect with that.”Brian Day, Director of Marketing
Drew, who gets paid for the job, is the first consistent emcee at Loyola announcing games, contests and promotions.
For the job of emcee, Day said Drew has to follow a strict script in games during timeouts and breaks. He said she takes the script and runs with it, finding ways to add her personality to make it her own.
“I … am pretty much with the interns for the entirety of the game … or the event that we’re working, trying to set up the timelines, the promotions, what we’re doing at what timeout,” Drew said. “I ad-lib as I go … sometimes [the script] is very cut-and-dry and I like to liven it up a little bit to keep the audience engaged.”
Day said after meeting the 19-year-old this summer when she was an orientation leader at Loyola, he knew her energy and passion for Loyola were perfect for the emcee position the athletics department had been hoping to create.
“It’s something that we’ve been wanting to do [the] last couple years actually, and it was just a matter of finding the right person, we just hadn’t had that yet,” Day said. “[Drew] was just kind of a natural in front of people [and] talking to people, and we asked her if she’d be interested in doing it and she said yes.”
This isn’t Drew’s first experience announcing, though. As a basketball and lacrosse player in high school, she would often announce the other games at her school. She said even when she was younger, she was theatrical and enjoyed being in the spotlight. Since being at Loyola, she’s announced men’s basketball games, special events, Hustle to Hoyne and other Rambler sports.
Drew said the best part of her job is getting to see the behind-the-scenes of games and how much goes into making a men’s basketball game run. She said being behind the scenes lets her hang out with new people and familiar faces, including the basketball team and Sister Jean.
[Drew] was just kind of a natural in front of people [and] talking to people, and we asked her if she’d be interested in doing it and she said yes.”Brian Day, Director of Marketing
Being on camera isn’t all fun and games. Drew said one of the hardest parts of her job is, as emcee, she can’t support the team along with the rest of the crowd.
“After the first game I was pulled aside by my boss [and] he was like ‘Yeah, if you want to cheer you have to kind of jump into the stands and do that, but when you’re kind of on the floor, you’ve gotta be more professional,” Drew said. “So sometimes that can be tough when it’s exciting games like [University of Northern Iowa] or Furman or the Nevada game.”
First-year criminal justice major Lily Kreuter, 19, was one of the students in Drew’s orientation group this past summer. She said Drew created an environment that was very welcoming and fun; she added Drew seemed like someone relatable and a true representation of Loyola. This translates into one of the reasons Day said he thinks Drew does so well with the crowd.
“Some schools will have like a local radio personality or, like, an adult [announcing], but I think since she’s a student, I think the students really connect with that,” Day said.
The personal touch Drew adds by being a student isn’t the only benefit to having her announce games. Day said her energy gets the crowd going and exudes a passion for Loyola and excitement about the game, and he thinks she’s done a phenomenal job. He said he’d love to get more people to emcee, as well, for volleyball or women’s basketball games and he hopes she’ll come back for her next few years at Loyola.
Although Drew plans to go to medical school and pursue that as a career, she said she’ll continue to emcee during her time at Loyola.
Drew said she hopes to keep fans engaged because their energy really helps get the team going. She said she wants them to be consistently energized, especially at media timeouts, where fans like to sit down and relax.
“As involved as the team has to be, we want the fans to be,” Drew said. “I hope to keep them as entertained and engaged during those timeouts as possible.”