ESPN’s Paul Finebaum visits UA

Abby McCreary, Assistant Copy Editor

UA students crowded into the English Building on Aug. 26 to listen to ESPN reporter and talk show host Paul Finebaum — a voice most only hear on TV.  

The Q&A hosted by The University of Alabama Program in Sports Communication allowed students to learn about Finebaum’s history in sports communication. 

After giving a virtual talk at the University last year, Finebaum said he was pleased to talk to students in person again. He sat on stage with Andrew Billings, the executive director of the APSC, as they discussed the future of the SEC, the field of sports communication today and Finebaum’s radio and TV career. 

Finebaum, a political science major and occasional writer for his school newspaper, said he never envisioned himself becoming a TV and radio personality. 

He also advised that if you don’t have a hot take, “don’t give one.” Although he enjoys the crazy, intense fans on his shows, he said they’re only important if they’re authentic. 

Finebaum is a University of Tennessee alumnus, but said he’s always been an Alabama guy. Even after moving from Birmingham, Alabama, to Charlotte, North Carolina, he couldn’t stop talking about Alabama football. He’s chosen the Crimson Tide as his pick for the national championship for years in a row.

This may be, in part, because he covered the last two years of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s coaching career, but he said that Alabama football is simply “always relevant.”

Brian Gregoire, a junior majoring in commerce and business administration, said he attended the Q&A to absorb knowledge from a household name in college football media. He said Finebaum gives him “a sense of direction as a journalism minor.”

Many students hung onto Finebaum’s words, including Gregoire. 

“The most memorable portion of Paul’s interview was when he discussed curiosity and how it is an attribute that is attractive to employers, because curious people are always getting smarter,” he said. 

Finebaum is the first in a series of speakers who will offer their advice and experiences to UA students. The APSC has scheduled speakers to engage with its sports communication students, but the events are open to the public.