SUNY Cortland’s ESPN highlight gets assist from alum

SUNY Cortland’s ESPN highlight gets assist from alum

02/23/2024 

It won’t show up in any box score, but you can credit Rob Galm ’17 with an assist on the recent Cortland basketball buzzer-beater that made late-night highlights on ESPN.

Galm, a former communication studies major who’s now an Emmy Award-winning content producer for ESPN, continues to live out his childhood dream working for the worldwide leader in sports. His job involves orchestrating the network’s various late-night SportsCenter programs airing from Bristol, Conn., Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

“I work on those shows on a nightly basis, so I have relationships with all of those producers and anchors,” said Galm, whose position is based at the network’s headquarters in Bristol.

On Feb. 20, he received emails from Fran Elia, the university’s sports information director, and Jaclyn Lawrence ’12, M ’14, associate director of athletics, encouraging him to check out the dramatic finish from that night’s SUNYAC men’s basketball quarterfinals game against Plattsburgh.

Cortland trailed by two points in the final seconds of overtime, when sophomore Kendall Arcuri connected on an improbable three-pointer at the buzzer. The ball bounced several times off the rim and backboard before delivering a 78-77 Red Dragons win and Corey Gymnasium court-storming from a raucous student crowd.

Galm made sure the clip made its way to the right people at the network. It ended up airing on several different late-night programs and landing at No. 3 on SportsCenter’s top plays of the day. High-profile anchors including Linda Cohn and Scott Van Pelt even gave the team a shout-out.

“It certainly could have made its way there without me, but I probably helped expedite the process and get it on the forefront of those shows,” said Galm, who has worked his way up through several promotions since earning a job as a production assistant at ESPN less than a month after he graduated from SUNY Cortland.

He handles multiple duties in his late-night shift. Sometimes he oversees a team of production assistants and monitors a handful of night-time contests while tossing ideas to producers as action develops. Other nights, Galm works with guests or studio analysts joining SportsCenter programs. As “the eyes and the ears of the anchors,” he also works directly with stars like Van Pelt.

“It’s definitely a strong relationship,” Galm said. “You work to establish that trust with anchors and that’s something I’ve definitely enjoyed in my new role — getting to pitch ideas directly to them and work with them while the show’s on the air.”

During postgame press conferences after Super Bowl LVIII, for instance, Galm monitored remarks from San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, looping in Van Pelt when a question about overtime decision-making came up.

“I’m letting Scott know that he’s tossing to Kyle Shanahan on this specific topic,” Galm said. “He hasn’t heard the sound yet, so I help facilitate that.”

In addition to multiple promotions, Galm’s work has been rewarded with two Emmy Awards as part of SportsCenter’s production team in the category of “Outstanding Studio Show – Daily.”

But even while monitoring the biggest stars in sports, he remains plugged in to the success of Cortland athletics. Before Cortland’s football team earned its thrilling national championship in December, Galm suggested monitoring the game to the SportsCenter team. He eventually oversaw production of the highlight, identifying the game’s key plays that would air.

“I had to ask producers for a little more time for the highlight because the game was so good,” he said.

That passion for Red Dragon athletics started early during his time as a student. Galm, who grew up in Pine Plains, N.Y., has been longtime best friends with former men’s basketball players Justin Cooper ’19 and Zach Lydon ’19. As an undergraduate, he cherished hands-on outlets like CSTV, the university’s television station, and the Red Dragon Sports Network, the Athletics Department’s online streaming service.

He said the latter experience was pivotal in his early development, introducing him to a variety of skills: broadcasting, editing, producing, directing and writing among them. Galm credited Jim Forshee, a sport management faculty member who recently passed away, for being instrumental in that initial success.

“He really pushed me to try every single thing,” said Galm, also noting Forshee’s role in helping him land his first internship with the Albany Dutchmen, a collegiate summer baseball team. “All of those experiences made me more well-rounded so that when I got to ESPN, I was trained in a lot of different areas.”

Galm said he is always happy to try and help land SUNY Cortland on a national stage when it’s possible. In addition to providing a formative education and lifelong best friends, the university helped introduce him to his future wife. This summer, he’ll marry Eryn Griep ’18, whom he met at Cortland, in nearby Marathon, N.Y.

“Any time we can shed some light on Cortland and (Division III) athletics, it’s really cool,” Galm said. “I think it’s really cool to give back to a place that gave me so much.”


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