Rick Cameron was seated in a small room in the press box on a muggy August afternoon, flanked by color commentator and former NFL player Roger Jackson.
Cameron presided over the new Mercer University Stadium with headset on and at the ready to call the action in what was Mercer’s first football game in 72 years.
Three hours and 15 minutes later, Cameron delivered what Mercer fans had long been itching to hear. “The Bears have taken the lead! 3 seconds to go! Shutter nails the field goal! Mercer 40, Reinhardt 37!” he screamed with his trademark enthusiasm as the Bears took the lead at the last minute to beat Reinhardt.
Cameron has been the Voice of the Bears since 2005, broadcasting men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball, but he still had people questioning his broadcasting abilities when Mercer University announced the reinstatement of football.
“Folks would want to say it in a nice way, a politically correct way. They’d say, ‘Now we know you call basketball...’ and it was like, ‘have you ever done football?’” he joked a month into calling four consecutive Mercer wins.
With his dramatic call of the winning field goal, Cameron certainly showed that he indeed knows how to call a football game.
Cameron actually started his broadcasting career in football, as he describes it. “I was doing football back in the 1970s when I was a student at Georgia. I’m just coming back to where I started.”
As he built up his résumé with five years of radio experience after college graduation, Cameron moved around the south and eventually became a newspaper publisher. He worked in the industry for 18 years at three different papers then decided to start looking into moving back to Georgia to be closer to his youngest daughter.
“I thought ‘well, I’ve done school board meetings, I’ve done car wrecks, and I’ve done athletics. Maybe it’s just time to see if there’s anything else out there,’” he said.
A relative let him know that a position was available in university relations at Mercer, and it was “meant to be.” Cameron started in the fall of 1997 and is now the Senior Assistant Vice President for Marketing Communications.
His duties have increased over the years and now include editing the university magazine The Mercerian, composing the “This Week at Mercer” email blast, keeping up the campus calendar, promoting Mercer across social media, and much more.
Cameron’s broadcasting and marketing duties intersected the night the men’s basketball team won the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Utah State in March 2012.
The Mercerian was slated to go to press the next morning, and Cameron stayed up all night after the big win to write the cover story on the game.
“It was fun. I think I would’ve been sick if we’d lost and I’d had to have written it. But because we won, I think adrenaline [helped]. I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground,” he reminisced.
Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications Larry Brumley has worked with Cameron for seven years and knows how valuable he is to the university. “He’s just a good solid generalist who knows a good bit about a lot of different things at the university, and so there’s just a wide range of things that we turn to Rick for to help support,” Brumley said.
Cameron’s wife Myra has also worked at Mercer since 1997, providing administrative support to the athletics department. She says Cameron will probably be the Voice of the Bears “until his toes turn up. I think it’s something that he’ll never tire of doing. He just loves it.”
Rick agrees. “I enjoy everything about what I do. It’s just like eating, I guess. You like steaks, you like hamburgers. Some days a steak’s better, but when it cuts to the chase, the play-by-play is the dessert, the sweet taste.”