Gregory is on the right path
Broadcasting a Rose Bowl game is first on his professional bucket list, and this Farragut resident began the journey toward realizing that dream after graduating from University of Tennessee at Martin Saturday, May 6, with a degree in mass media and strategic communication.
An early interest in sports broadcasting has grown into a passion for Gregory, who developed his skills while following major college sports in the home county for University of Tennessee Athletics.
Although he followed UT athletics during his middle school and high school years, Gregory is an unabashed Auburn Tigers fa, and counts the late Auburn radio voice Rod Bramblett as one of his sports broadcast idols along with CBS’s Kevin Harlan and Fox Sports’ Gus Johnson. “They (these announcers) got me excited about the game because they were excited about what was happening on the field or court or whatever it was,” he said, adding he doesn’t attempt to
imitate them. “but, definitely I’ve taken some stuff that they’ve done and how they call games and adapted that to what I try to do.”
A graduate of Christian Academy of Knoxville, Gregory learned about football as a manager for the team and began broadcasting baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer and softball for CAK’s Warrior Network, which is part of the NFHS Network that broadcasting high school sports nationally. His work led to being named his senior year as a top-three finalist for best high school sportscaster in the nation.
His WUTM 90.3 “The Hawk” student broadcasting debuts were anything but perfect, as he pushed through a sinus infection during the Westview football game. Then, for the SIU Carbondale game, a different challenge emerged – a case of nerves. His broadcast partner, fellow student John Thornton, advised him to calm down, “And once I got through the first couple minutes and first couple drives, I calmed down a whole lot more,” he remembered. “But I definitely was a very, very nervous broadcaster going into that first (college) game.”
Gregory’s broadcasting world expanded as a member of WUTM’s “The Bench” sports talk show team. The show primarily covers UT Martin sports but ventures into news and conversations about the sports world in general. He learned quickly that engaging sports talk is “not about just getting in front of the mic and talking.
“It’s about the prep work that you have to do for an hour show,” he added. “You’ve got to spend definitely more than an hour prepping and make sure that it’s a good show. …There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes.”
He also credited UT, Martin, alum John Hatler, Skyhawk football play-by-play announcer, for making him a better member of the talk show team.
“I remember my sophomore year, it was really tough for me because that was the first year of (being WUTM) sports director and getting stuff together. (I was) really stressed out and felt like I wasn’t being myself and talking enough on the show like a conversation.”
As a show guest that year, Hatler helped Gregory relax and enjoy the conversations that make sports talk shows popular.
While “The Bench” allowed him to expand his talents, play-by-play remains Gregory’s primary focus, and his classes, teachers and on-air experiences strengthened important skills. “I think the biggest thing is improving my vocabulary and not saying the same thing over and over again,” he said. “… You need to have different ways of describing the moment, and that’s probably been one of the biggest things to overcome and get better at as a broadcaster.”
Gregory’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed. He has been a part of two “Best College Radio Station in the South” recognitions in 2022-23 by the Southeast Journalism Conference for WUTM 90.3 “The Hawk.” Gregory also was part of the ESPN+ crew that won the 2021-22 “OVC Call of the Year” award from the Ohio Valley Conference for his call on a homerun during a Skyhawk baseball game. He closed out his senior year by receiving the Outstanding Senior Award for broadcasting from the Department of Mass Media and Strategic Communication.
Thanks to hard work and perseverance, Gregory enters the competitive sports broadcasting profession with his bachelor’s degree plus seven valuable years of broadcasting experience. An entry-level position in radio that offers an opportunity to call games might be next. Farther
down the road, he dreams of broadcasting major sports events, and he’ll pursue his dream “as long as God wants me to pursue it.”
Proper technique also is important, and he learned about speaking through his chest instead of through his throat from Dr. Richard Robinson, professor and WUTM adviser.
“Davis has learned a lot, and whoever hires him will be lucky to get a young, talented broadcaster who will do an exceptional job,” Robinson wrote. “He has great potential as a sports broadcast talent.”