Tanner Hoops: Bringing a Big School Atmosphere to a Small School


Ella Wiebusch, Sports Assistant Editor

It was 2003. The Twins were playing the Orioles in the Minneapolis Metrodome. A young boy walked through the tunnel for the first time to find his seat, and watched the whole stadium open up to him, filling him with amazement and wonder. From that moment on, he was hooked. 

Storm Lake native and digital media major Tanner Hoops fell in love with sports at a young age. At three years old, however, he became diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to grow and develop properly. This made it difficult for him to participate in sports. 

But Hoops was not one to be slowed down. 

“I was never able to play them as much as I would have liked growing up, but I was fortunate enough to play tennis in high school,” said Hoops. “Broadcasting ended up being a way for me to stay involved with it. I did it more and more and I realized I had a passion and a talent for it, and it’s a place where I could go far with and try to make a career out of it.” 

As he grew up, Hoops worked on building his skills, looking to broadcasters like Jack Nolan and Mike Lange for inspiration. 

“I’ve actually met quite a few of the guys who have influenced me, which has been really cool,” said Hoops. “While I want to be my own brand, I’d like to think I could take the best of what they do and incorporate it into my own while still being myself.” 

With the help of his friend’s mother, he met Chris Bachman, the Sports Director at Storm Lake Radio. His career as a sports broadcaster was set in motion. 

“In January of 2011, him and I did a high school basketball game together, which is when he brought me on the radio for the first time ever. I was a junior in high school,” said Hoops. 

Taking the internships and relationships he made previously, Hoops decided to say close to home and attend Buena Vista University (BVU).  

“I didn’t make up my mind as to where I wanted to go until 19 days before graduation, but I knew I could take over those relationships from high school. Looking back I think I made the right choice,” reflected Hoops. 

Since starting here at BVU, Hoops has created a legacy in sports broadcasting that has set him up for success beyond the classroom.   

Hoops has been the Sports Director at KBVU, the campus radio station, started a weekly radio show, and won numerous national awards. 

And that’s just the beginning. 

“In my time here we’ve brought a new sport on each year, and three of them had never been done before. I think we’ve taken our coverage to the next level,” said Hoops. “We go to national contests and we see BV up there with big schools like NC State and Seton Hall, and that’s just rewarding for me. I wanted to bring the big school atmosphere to a small school and I feel like we’ve done that.”  

Hoops has also reached outside the classroom in many directions to help those around him. 

In 2009 he started with the youth football league, eventually moving on to high school events, not only for Storm Lake, but for St. Mary’s, Newell-Fonda, and Alta. The last few years, Hoops has helped hold a basketball tournament in the community, raising funds to fight Marfan Syndrome and advance research.

“The whole event is for other people’s quality of life,” says Hoops. “There are people a lot worse off than I am. It’s a genetic mutation, so it can’t ever be cured, but we can raise money to help prevent other people from ever having it.” 

To add to his impressive resume, Hoops has held internships with many places, including the Sports Information Office at BVU, the Storm Lake Radio Station, and the Sioux City Hockey team.  

Not to mention, he even had the opportunity to call a game at Notre Dame.  

“Their baseball broadcast has been something that I’ve listened to for a long time; the guy’s name is Chuck Freeby. After my first game a year ago, I thought it would be cool if I could talk to him,” said Hoops. “I must have looked like a total stalker because I waited for 40 minutes in the parking lot until he came out of the press box. We got a picture together and I tweeted it a few days later, and he followed me back. From then on we’ve kept in contact.” 

A few months ago, Hoops received an invitation to go do the broadcast with Freeby.

“I’ve always wanted to do something for the school since I was a kid, honestly because of their mascot the Leprechaun,” said Hoops. “Their traditions and strong sense of faith made me fall in love. It was literally a dream come true.” 

Hoops gives credit to many people for inspiring him and helping him to get to where he is today.  

Here at BVU, Professor of Digital Media and KBVU Advisor Andrea Frantz has been an invaluable part of Hoops’ success.

“She’s been my station manager here at KBVU for three years and has done a fantastic job of making sure not only everything is in place, but also giving us the chance to do what we want to do,” said Hoops. “I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do here in the last four years with her.” 

Frantz has seen his leadership and collaboration abilities grow, especially in sports broadcasting.  

“Tanner is very focused on building his skills towards excellence,” said Frantz. “He is tenacious about that. His skills as a sports broadcaster are undeniable. He’s got a great radio voice and he truly does know athletics. He’s made it his mission to understand the nuances of pretty much every organized sport I can come up with.” 

Upon graduation, Hoops is heading up to Duluth to do play-by-play for the Duluth Huskies, a Northwoods League baseball team. Not only will he get to be in the booth, but Hoops will learn the ins and outs of the behind the scenes stuff in order to be as well rounded as possible. While this is not a job he will keep, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.  

“The General Manager helps place broadcasters, and three of his four from last year are with professional minor league teams now, which is what really got me,” said Hoops. “It’s a competitive market and I want to lock down something. Beyond that I don’t know, but I’ve been blessed with a lot so far so I’m confident that it will work out.” 

Frantz agrees that it will all work out. 

“He’s not willing to cede the game, he’s going to keep playing until the very last second, and I admire him for that,” said Frantz. “He is kind and a good human being. I appreciate that he is able to bring that kindness to the table when we’re working. And God, would it be so nice if the world had more people like that.” 

Ever since that beautiful day of baseball in 2003, Hoops was hooked. 

“I think he’s headed for big things, and I don’t think he will ever settle for anything less than that, and that’s exciting to know,” said Frantz. “We’re going to have an alumnus that will always represent BV with the integrity and work ethic we want to cultivate among all of our students.”