When Pat O'Keefe '97 thinks about his profession, he credits his time at Regis High School for laying the groundwork to a career in sports broadcasting.
"As a senior, I took a writing class with Mr. Flynn as an elective that I was able to turn into my own weekly sports writing project, and it really helped me get a jump start on covering and writing about sports," said O'Keefe. "And Mr. Anselme, who was the Athletic Director at the time and my History teacher, was very instrumental. He was a walking sports encyclopedia, and I really enjoyed talking shop with him." Over his four years at Regis, O'Keefe was able to letter in five Varsity sports and "was a part of some great soccer teams under Mr. Jon Vigon '85," recounts O'Keefe.
Today, O'Keefe serves as the Sports Director for News 12 The Bronx and News 12 Brooklyn, and has been with the organization since 2007. This week, he was named as one of the Irish Echo's 40 Under 40, an annual listing that celebrates Irish Americans who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of work before reaching the age of forty.
"Being recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 is a thrill. A lot of my work with News 12 is in The Bronx and Brooklyn, and I love being able to represent the Irish communities there," said O'Keefe, whose paternal grandparents were both born in Co. Kerry before settling in the Woodlawn section of The Bronx.
(Pictured: O'Keefe interviewing NBA Legend and current St. John's head coach Chris Mullin.)
O'Keefe says that Regis continues to be an influence in his career, sometimes in unanticipated encounters with colleagues in the business.
"At News 12 The Bronx/Brooklyn, I worked with Joe Mauceri '05 for a few years when he was one of our reporters. He has since moved on to PIX 11 and is doing a great job. Marc LaPlace '85 of the YES Network has served as a mentor, and Jon Sciambi '88 of ESPN, and Mike Breen P'09'15 have also been great mentors. Working for MSG Network as the Knicks Radio host, I get the opportunity to see Mike all the time, which is a great thrill for me," added O'Keefe.
O'Keefe says his career highlights of covering hometown sports include reporting on the 2009 Yankees World Series win and local team participation in NCAA Tournaments. He also enjoys reporting on the annual Jesuit rivalry game between Fordham Preparatory and Xavier High School every Thanksgiving. His adds that his most unique broadcasting experience was covering the 2006 Iditarod while stationed in Anchorage, Alaska.
Recently O'Keefe took note of the creativity of the Regis students who streamed the Regis-Xavier tripleheader.
"I was very excited that the students had taken on that project. That is where the business is going—webstreaming. Even the NFL is broadcasting games that are only on the web."
He notes that students interested in broadcasting should "start getting experience now. There are opportunities available that weren't there even 5 years ago."
Vote for Pat O’Keefe in the Irish Echo’s 40 Under 40 People’s Choice Poll
(Poll will close at Noon on Friday, February 26).