IHSA Announces Broadcast Crews For 2010 Football State Finals

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and When We Were Young Productions (WWWYP) recently confirmed the announcing crews who will call the action from the 2010 IHSA Football State Finals  on the IHSA TV Network and www.ESPN3.com.

IHSA TV Network mainstays Dave Bernhard and Lee Hall will call play-by-play when the football title games unfold at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27. Hall will be behind the microphone for the 1A, 2A, 5A and 6A contests, while Bernhard will call the action for the 3A, 4A, 7A and 8A matchups.

A pair of veteran broadcasters/coaches will make their IHSA TV Network debuts providing color commentary, as Bob Chmiel will serve as the analyst for the 1A and 2A finals and Rick Venturi will breakdown the action for fans in the 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A games. Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jack McInerney returns to his analyst post to call the 7A and 8A state final contests, while Aaron Bennett also returns to his sideline reporter duties to provide fans in-depth information from the field for all eight contests.

“I think fans across the state and the world are really going to enjoy the viewing experience our group of broadcasters are going to provide,” said WWWYP’s Doug Brown. “We have a nice mixture of familiar faces, as well as some talent that will be new to the IHSA TV Network, but certainly not new to football fans around the state. Most importantly, everyone involved can articulate the nuances of the game  of football and are passionate about high school athletics in Illinois.”

Brown, who continues to work in similar capacities with the Big Ten Network, ESPN and Comcast Sports Net Chicago, will serve as the Executive Producer of the broadcasts.

The 2010 IHSA Football State Finals on ESPN3.com will mark the first time that ESPN has broadcast a high school state association state final event in any sport on any of the network’s platforms.

Brief bios on each broadcaster are available below:


Dave Bernhard has become the face of the IHSA TV Network over the course of the past 11 years, working the football playoff pairing show, football state finals and boys & girls basketball state final broadcasts. A retired teacher in the Lincoln-Way School District, Dave has covered high school athletics in Illinois on television, on the radio and in print for over 20 years. Dave was inducted into the Media Wing of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009  and has earned two local Emmy and two Cable Ace award nominations for his work on IHSA events. The Beecher High School graduate twirled four no-hitters during his high school career and went on to coach Lincoln-Way Central High School’s baseball team to a combined 161-66 mark in seven seasons.

LEE HALL (Play-By-Play)

Lee Hall first joined the IHSA TV network in 1994 and has since gone on to cover IHSA state final events in the sports of basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball and track & field. Lee has served as the Sports Director at WEEK in Peoria since 1988 and has been a fixture on the Peoria Sports scene, calling television play-by-play for Bradley University Men’s Basketball, Peoria Rivermen hockey, Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball and Peoria Pirates arena football. Lee is an alum of Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute High School in Peoria, where he was a co-captain on the baseball team with current New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

BOB CHMIEL (Color Analyst)

Bob Chmiel brings a wealth of coaching and broadcast experience to the IHSA TV Network. The Fenwick High School graduate played football at the University of Illinois-Chicago before returning to coach at Fenwick. He also coached at St. Joseph High School in Westchester before joining the collegiate coaching ranks, which included stints at the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame, Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University. Chmiel has worked  as a football analyst on ESPN, Comcast Sports Net and continues to call color commentary on Northern Illinois’ football telecasts. Chmiel worked as an assistant coach under Lou Holtz, Bo Schembechler and Lee Corso during his career.

RICK VENTURI (Color Analyst)

Rick Venturi’s 30-plus year football coaching career included head coaching stops with the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and at Northwestern University, as well as coordinator positions with two other NFL franchises. Venturi now focuses on broadcasting, breaking down the St. Louis Rams as the host of several radio and television programs in the St. Louis area. Rick was born in Taylorville and went on to play quarterback at Rockford Auburn High School en route  to earning a scholarship to Northwestern. His father Joe Venturi (St. Teresa, Rockford Auburn, Pekin) and his brother John Venturi (Washington) are both members of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

JACK MCINERNEY (Color Analyst)

Jack McInerney has been a color analyst on IHSA football state championship contests for over 20 years and also works as an analyst on several high school football game of the week broadcasts in Chicagoland during  the regular-season and playoffs. McInerney coached high school football in Illinois for 36 years, making stops at Carbondale High School, Immaculate Conception, Westmont High School, Lyons Township, Oak Park High School and Downers Grove South High School along the way. The Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer was a part of the Downers Grove South coaching staff in 2001 when the Mustangs claimed the IHSA Class 8A title. The Fenwick graduate played college football at Southern Illinois University and later started the first 7-on-7 passing league in the state in 1984.

AARON BENNETT (Sideline Reporter)

A graduate of the University of Missouri’s famed Journalism School, the 2010 state finals will mark Aaron Bennett’s third season roaming the sidelines as a reporter for the IHSA TV Network. Bennett has worked as a sports anchor/reporter for WCIA-TV in Champaign since 2006 and also spent two years in the same position at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri prior to joining WCIA. The Pleasant Plains High School graduate was a four-year letter winner on the Cardinals baseball team.