Pete Taylor: The longtime voice of the Cyclones

Marcus Charter

You can almost see it if you concentrate hard enough. There, at the very top of the auditorium he sits, tape recorder in hand, dictating Drake basketball’s play by play to himself. At this moment, Pete Taylor recaptured his high school moment for me. I then realized he was living his dream.

I had the unique pleasure, Saturday, to sit high atop Cyclone Stadium with a legend.

Just as Jack Trice, Johnny Majors, Earl Bruce or Marv Seiler are ISU legends, Pete Taylor is one. Broadcasting for the Cyclones for 31 years had gained him this praise.

Pete Taylor’s has witnessed more cardinal and gold moments than most reading this column would dream. He has witnessed incredible upsets and ill-fated debacles. He has seen last- second shots and blown bunnies. He has been privy to the understandable and to the down right unexplainable; from 0-10-1 to 32-5, he has not faltered as “The Voice of the Cyclones”.

I observed him at work doing his craft. What makes him so great is when he is not great. A polished broadcaster is unbiased and aware of the mood and tone of the game. Pete Taylor could care less.

A meaningless touchdown late in the ball game allows you to hear the triumphant “touchdown” cry that sounds incredibly youthful, emanating from a man of Taylor’s years.

This is all for a reason.

Pete Taylor is Iowa State’s broadcaster, and you are sure as heck gonna know when the good guys put points on the board. The other team’s ears will just have to make due. Throw that polish out the window.

Don’t misunderstand me. Pete Taylor is great at his job. He loves his job, and one can sense that he does when they hear him on the radio. I got to see his faith and love challenged Saturday when Iowa State laid a big fat egg on the field. It is games like these when Pete Taylor earns his paycheck.

Maybe it is easier for him to view such garbage than the rest of us. He has seen worse, I assure you.

On the flip side, it just might be harder for him to swallow. The coaches responsible for calling some of those plays are his friends, and watching your friends struggle in the limelight is no easy task. They are like family to him, and when the Cyclone’s ship started to sink I got the distinct impression Pete Taylor was going down with it.

There is a lot of technical mumbo jumbo that takes place in the broadcast booth during a game that probably never enters the listener’s mind.

There are commercials to be read and various pieces of info to be handed around. But after about 20 minutes of soaking it all in, it became a blur to me.

What struck me was that I was watching an ISU fan tell everyone who was willing to listen, exactly what was happening on that field. It was that simple.

Pete Taylor doesn’t become the spectacle, he describes it, and that is his intention.

I asked him to tell me who his favorite broadcasters were, and he told me names that the majority of people wouldn’t be familiar with.

He believes Dennis Miller has no business being in the booth on Monday Night Football, because he takes away from the game. If Pete was still in high school I’m sure he would mute the comic relief and do commentary himself.

Pete Taylor has settled in. He has seen greets come and go. Hornacek, Grayer, Hoiberg and Fizer (who Mr. Taylor thinks is the best ever at ISU in 31 years) have all displayed there talents for Pete Taylor to comment on.

He has made countless friends throughout his career. His total frequent flyer miles lined up would travel from here to Hackensack and back about a million times. He has adopted favorite restaurants at every Big 12 stop, and he can probably tell you some of the proverbs on the men’s room walls at most of those eateries. And most importantly, he has a love for Iowa State that is unmatched.

Someone on this paper once wrote in regard to finding a job: “Find something you love and work at it like you’re damn well entitled to it.”

Pete Taylor found what he loved as a high school student, and he has continued to work at it to this very day.

Mr. Taylor is not polished. He is perfect; perfect for Iowa State, and I just thought he should be thanked.