Matthew Breault, Assistant Sports Editor
After moving to Utica in 2009 to be closer to family, Ray Biggs has become a household name in the local area for many reasons. If you turned on Utica College Pioneer Radio at WPNR 90.7 FM to listen to Utica College sports over the past decade it’s likely Biggs’ voice was calling one of the games.
Biggs quickly realized that his passion for sports broadcasting outweighed his business interests after he enrolled at UC as a business student in 2011. Prior to the start of his first semester, he decided to make a decision that would undoubtedly change his career path.
“The summer before I came here, I walked into Doug Croft’s office at the radio station to ask about opportunities in sports broadcasting,” Biggs said. “Little did I know that I had a job within about a week at WPNR.”
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“When Biggs first started, we were experimenting with the sports broadcasting staff to see what could potentially work for us,” Croft said. “Over his tenure, Biggs became an important part of the staff and the effort he put in made him fundamental to how we exist and function today in sports broadcasting. Biggs also had the idea of a weekly sports show and he is one of the main reasons ‘Pioneers Weekly’ exists.”
When Biggs took charge of the sports broadcasting staff during the 2012-2013 school year, his sports director role gave him some of the most memorable experiences as a sports broadcaster.
Utica College athletics had a historic year in 2012-2013 and Biggs played a big part in it. The college had one team from each of the three sporting seasons reach the national tournament stage. When this happened, Biggs was on call to broadcast some of these events.
“I think the 2012-2013 year still rings true as not only the most memorable year for me but for all of us here at Utica College,” he said. “Sending a program to the NCAA Championships in all three seasons whether it was field hockey that fall, men’s ice hockey that winter and softball that spring, was truly remarkable. For me, the opportunity to do those championships in all three seasons was memorable not only for the action on the field, but I also think it really set the table for me to get more opportunities in sports broadcasting going forward.”
Since then, Biggs has broadcasted many sporting events in the local area. Even after graduating in 2013, with a degree in public relations and sports communication concentration, Biggs continued to be the voice of ice hockey as he searched for other opportunities outside of Utica College.
Biggs has filled several broadcasting positions during the past eight years, including roles at ESPN Radio Utica-Rome, New York State American Legion Baseball, the Utica Blue Sox, Utica City FC, Utica Comets as well as announcing for various high school sports and editing for D3hockey.com.
These many opportunities have come and gone over his time in the Utica area and he is satisfied by where he is today because of his love for the city and the college.
“When I graduated, there was always part of me that thought maybe I’d be able to stay here,” Biggs said. “But, by the same token, there was also a part of me that wanted to test the waters on things like professional hockey opportunities at different ranks such as the ECHL, the USHL and even a Division I hockey school out in Michigan. I explored my options and now coming up on 10 hockey seasons in the books for me, it’s safe to say that part of me that always said I’d be here ended up being right.”
Currently, Biggs serves as the assistant sports information director at Utica College, where he helps the sports information office in all facets of its operation and helps strengthen the Pioneers’ 26 Division III athletic teams. Biggs is also the sports information director for United Collegiate Hockey Conference.
In doing so, Biggs also continues to provide assistance to WPNR by doing play-by-play coverage for many of the sports broadcasts done for the radio station and for streaming purposes. Having Biggs as an influence for the current sports broadcasting staff at WPNR is a privilege, according to Croft.
“I feel like we value Biggs the most now, because of what he has done for us over the years,” Croft said. “As a student and even now, his preparation for games has always been a key to his success as a broadcaster. Overall, his caring, preparing and practicing has helped him become such a great mentor for what it means to be a broadcaster.”
Croft also added that Biggs’ style of broadcasting has helped propel him to who he is today.
“Just like many of the best broadcasters in the world, he has a unique delivery that has helped him become the ‘Voice of the Pioneers,’” Croft said. “If you are in the Utica area and know anything about hockey, I am almost certain you know about Biggs.”
Biggs has fallen in love with Utica. Despite growing up in Montgomery, which is about three hours southeast of Utica, he is proud to call Utica his home.
“I couldn’t be happier to be here in Utica,” Biggs said. “My friends are here, my family is here and Utica is more of a home to me than the place I grew up in.”