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If you thought the chaos was only happening on the court between FAU and Kansas State, the Owls radio play-by-play announcer was dealing with his own kind of March Madness.
Ken LaVicka was in the middle of calling the final thirty seconds of a history making moment for Florida Atlantic fans listening on the radio. Everything had gone right for the entire game, up until eighteen seconds left on the clock.
During this time, as FAU hung onto a slim lead, the power went out on press row, mainly his connection through an ethernet cord. This sent the radio broadcast silent, with LaVicka trying everything possible to get his broadcast back on the air to finish the amazing moment. After scrambling to find the problem and a solution, he solved the problem.
The final seconds were ticking off the clock of a memorable call that would send Florida Atlantic to the Final Four, but LaVicka was trying to finish the broadcast. As Ken was looking for a way to get back on the air, he grabbed the ethernet cord sitting on the row behind him and connected it to his box.
Thanks to some help from a West Palm Beach reporter, LaVicka finally got back on the air, after being off-air for 30 crucial seconds.
“All the ethernet along this front row at Madison Square Garden went out with eighteen and six-tenths seconds left. We actually got saved by a Kansas State layup and timeout called by Jerome Tang. It gave me time to scramble, it got a little rough, life’s dream is crumbling before me.
“I grabbed from that second table an ethernet cord, plugged it into my broadcast equipment,” Ken LaVicka recalled to Andy Katz. “One of my teammates from ESPN West Palm held the com-rax unit while I called the final 15 seconds of the game and the day was saved.”
Turns out, after what problem seemed like an eternity, Ken was able to finish off the night with tremendous call he will surely never forget.
He’s not done yet though, as FAU is headed to the Final Four. Hopefully he doesn’t have to go through something like this again. But in the end, he handled it like a champ, just like the FAU Owls on the court.