Motivating a room of professionals isn’t the easiest part of Harold Bryant’s job. So when all those who help bring the NCAA Tournament to television gathered for a pre-Selection Show seminar, the CBS Sports executive producer and senior vice president for production tapped into the inspiration of one of the longest-tenured members of the team.
That would be Clark Kellogg, the Ohio State alumnus and Westerville resident who is now in his 25th year as part of CBS’ March Madness crew.
“I had sat with Clark the weekend before and we were talking basketball and he got me motivated,” Bryant said. “I was saying to him, ‘Oh, this year, we’re not going to get a great tournament. There’s no real front-runners. How are we going to match (Kris) Jenkins’ shot from last year (for Villanova) and all the great energy that came out of the Final Four?’ And he just started waxing poetically about all the teams.
“He just started energizing me and I used that energy and referenced Clark. I used a couple of his analogies to help motivate and kick off our seminar.”
A contagious spirit has not only helped Kellogg become the person he is today but has also helped him become one of the tournament’s most versatile analysts. After starting as a part-time game analyst in 1993, Kellogg became a full-time member of the broadcast team in 1997. From there, his role expanded and eventually led to a five-year stint as CBS’ lead college basketball analyst with duties that included calling the national championship game.
That came to a close in 2014, when he was reassigned to an in-studio analyst role. Wednesday afternoon as he was preparing for Thursday’s slate of Sweet 16 games, Kellogg said he’s got no regrets as he enters what he calls “the twilight of my broadcasting journey.”
There’s no time for that given the unpredictable nature of the tournament that keeps him coming back year after year.
“It’s a wonderful event to be a part of and I hope and pray that I never take it for granted,” he said, “that I will appreciate it and cherish it for how special it is to so many and to try to do it justice in the role that I’ve been given to connect fans to it.
"You have to be pretty intentional to be grateful and realize the good in most things and this is one of them. I know there are some issues around the game and the business aspects of it, the commercialization of it, but that does not take away from the inherent goodness, the memory-making, the magic, the emotion. That stuff is real and lasts for a lifetime for a lot of folks. I’ve been privileged to be a part of the ride.”
Kellogg pointed out that his five years calling the title game — “I got to see a couple of really good championship games (and) a couple of stinkers, too” — equals the length of his injury-shortened NBA career. He’s played H.O.R.S.E. with president Barack Obama (although they played P.O.T.U.S., which Obama won) but has no hesitation when asked about the high points of his career.
There’s one, and it came five years ago when his son Nick helped Ohio University reach the Sweet 16 before falling to North Carolina in overtime.
“There’s nothing that compares to watching Nick and his team,” he said. “Everything else falls under the umbrella of that one at the top. To see Nick contribute to a team that made a surprising run, to have that memory, to see his face on the One Shining Moment video … Shoot, I get emotional talking about it.”