Paul Monusky ’01
By Pat Donohue
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the voice of Paul Monusky could be heard regularly throughout the airwaves of WMUC, as he broadcasted Terrapin baseball, basketball and football games.
Now an Emmy-winning feature producer for NFL Films, the 2001 Maryland graduate has used that same voice to conduct interviews with the likes of Jim Brown, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
Recalling his days as a Terp, Monusky, 34, said his experiences as a Merrill journalism student are where he learned to properly tell the stories of these legends.
He wanted to come to a big school and be able to do something with the athletic programs there. So he came to Maryland and started writing sports for The Diamondback. But after getting a taste of radio at WMUC, Monusky said he knew that his real interest was in broadcast.
“I think all my experiences at WMUC and also Dr. Lee Thornton helped me a lot,” Monusky said. “She was one of my teachers at the University of Maryland.”
Monusky and the Merrill College were saddened to hear of Thornton’s passing [http://www.merrill.umd.edu/deadline/index.php/2013/09/27/thornton/] last month at the age of 71.
“She was awesome,” Monusky said. “I remember the TV classes with her. I knew how to edit a little bit from high school, but she really taught us how to form your story. Her class always stuck with me as far as doing TV broadcast and telling a story on camera.”
During his time as an announcer and producer for WMUC, Monusky got to experience some truly infamous moments in Maryland’s athletic history.
“I got to do the football and basketball games on the air the year we beat Stanford to go to our first Final Four,” Monusky said. “The last game I ever did on [WMUC] was Maryland vs. Duke in the Final Four, and Maryland was up by 20 at halftime and lost the game. “
Monusky graduated shortly after that loss, but the following year the football team made an appearance in the Orange Bowl and the basketball team won the National Championship, to which he said jokingly, “Maybe I was the bad luck.”
A time that luck was on Monusky’s side was when his voice first got broadcasted across national airwaves. Unfortunately, this also came at the expense of one of Maryland’s athletic teams.
“I did the baseball games as well,” Monusky said. “We had three announcers, so we used to split up the play-by-play of a 9-inning game—three, three, three. I got to do the 9th inning of a game against Florida State where a guy from their team hit his 6th homeroom of the game. Later, I got a call in my dorm room on South Campus from someone at Westwood One, asking if we had the call. So my call from WMUC was picked up by almost every news media outlet in the country.”
Working in sports had been a longtime goal for Monusky, who landed his first job a week after graduation at The George Michael Sports Machine, where he interned as a junior and senior. Since then he has always held a position that involves producing sports broadcasts.
He has enjoyed a fulfilling career during stints with ABC Sports, ESPN, NFL Network, and TNT Sports, bringing us some of sports’ most popular events such as the Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, ESPY Awards, NFL Scouting Combine and NBA Playoffs.
“Ever since I was a kid,” Monusky, who grew up in Hauppauge, N.Y., said, “once I figured out I wasn’t going to play professional sports, I knew I wanted to do something in sports.”
Despite his experiences in producing live televised sports, an urge to do long-form documentaries is what brought Monusky to NFL Films.
Growing up a fan of their features and documentaries, he said NFL Films is one of the best places to do what he loves.
Their program “A Football Life” includes two of Monusky’s proudest works at NFL Films.
Getting to conduct the interviews, write and edit the scripts, catalog all the footage, and then edit it all together, Monusky was able to produce hour-long documentaries on Barry Sanders and J.J. Watt, both of which he said were well received by the public.
Now married and the father of two little girls, Monusky said that he will also always remember the University of Maryland as the place where he met his four best friends, whom he still remains close with today. And when visiting the campus he cannot believe the strides that Merrill has made.
“Walking into the new journalism program and seeing the Povich Center and seeing their sports journalism classes and stuff, none of that was there when I was there,” Monusky said. “It did make me a little bit jealous.”
Envy aside, he did offer this piece of advice for aspiring broadcast journalist hoping to work in sports.
“I think the biggest misconception is that you have to be the announcer or the play-by-play guy to have a job working in sports broadcasting,” Monusky said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many great jobs and so many creative people who have their livelihood in this field and are never in front of the camera that can tell the stories of these athletes we love. So if you can acquire [broadcasting and production skills] you will always have a job, especially with the way the industry is going.”