BY KEN SCHOTT
Since leaving his job as a sportswriter for The Record in Troy in January 2014 to become communications specialist in the office of the Montgomery County Executive, Andrew Santillo has kept his notebook, as well as a microphone, in sports.
Now, Santillo will be busy on fall Saturday afternoons.
Santillo, a 2001 Niskayuna High School graduate, was named play-by-play voice of Union College football on WPTR-AM (1240) on Thursday. He replaces Frank Rossi, who has decided to hang up the headset after 19 years.
“I’m excited,” Santillo said. “I think Union football has a passionate following. Growing up in the area, I know a lot about the program, and it has a storied tradition under coach [John] Audino. I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Santillo who graduated from Ithaca College in 2005, covered a variety of sports for The Record from 2006-2014. He does some freelance sports writing, and he also does some sports broadcasting for Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
“I’m comfortable doing both,” Santillo said. “Obviously, I have a lot of experience writing, having been at the paper. I also have done some calling games for Time Warner, more in an analyst’s position. I’ve done some summer baseball play-by-play. I did a number of things in college with play-by-play. I’m familiar and comfortable with both of those situations.”
Santillo isn’t a stranger to Union athletics.
“Eric McDowell [assistant athletic director/sports information] reached out to me,” Santillo said. “We’ve know each other, obviously, from covering Union when I was with The Record. When I first got out of college, I did some work for the Union athletic department doing some radio stuff. So Eric and I have a pretty good relationship. He reached out to me to see if I would be interested. I thought it would be a great opportunity, and I decided to accept.”
Rossi, a Union graduate, is a lawyer in New York City. He commuted from the city to Union’s games, home and away.
“Since I spend so much time in NYC, the level of travel and time commitment got to the point where I couldn’t fully commit to a full season’s schedule, as my professional responsibilities have accelerated,” Rossi said. “I still am active behind the scenes helping the program, especially as a member of the Fighting Dutchmen Gridiron Club executive board, and I’ll still be very active in the D3 football community, co-hosting a weekly Liberty League football show for the eighth season with Hobart alum James Baker [”In the HuddLLe” at InTheHuddLLe.com.] and contributing to D3football.com.
“If the Thruway awarded frequent driver miles, I’d have a million points with all the driving I’ve been doing the last couple years.”
Santillo doesn’t think there is any pressure on him to replace Rossi.
“I don’t know if pressure is the right word,” Santillo said. “Frank leaves some big shoes to be filled. He knows the program inside and out. I know I have my work cut out for me. Frank did a great job for so many years. I will try follow in his footsteps knowing the team that well, knowing the program. It’s certainly an honor to follow Frank after he worked for so many years covering the team.”
Santillo joins a pair of former FOX23 (WXXA) sportscasters at Union. Former sports director Rich Becker is the public address announcer for Union hockey and football, and ex-anchor/reporter Scott Morlock handles PA duties for Union basketball.