When Mark Iacofano ’84 was a kid, he dreamed about playing major league baseball. He lettered his junior and senior year on UD’s varsity baseball team but lacked a few of the key skills that he would need to make it in the majors.
“I couldn’t hit, and I couldn’t run,” Iacofano said. “But I was determined to at least have a career in the sports industry.”
He moved behind the scenes, so to speak, and worked his way up from directing and producing small college football games to iconic games like Michigan’s The Big Chill, the Frozen Diamond Face-off, gold medal Olympic hockey games, and countless professional and college hockey, baseball, basketball and football games.
“I want to make sports shows great for the people who can’t be in the arena or stadium,” said Iacofano, who expertly stitches together camera shots, graphics, replays, promotions and player storylines to create a seamless experience for the fan sitting on the couch at home.
“I never want to disturb the flow of the game,” Iacofano said. There are pre- and post -game shows too that often last late into the night. Iacofano stays until the bitter end.
An MLB game, for example, involves upwards of 30 people who all take their cues from Iacofano, a 20-time Emmy award winner. Golden statues aside, producing and directing a February 2017 basketball game between Dayton and St. Joseph’s from UD Arena was “a surreal experience I won’t soon forget,” said Iacofano.
The self-described Flyer Fanatic hadn’t been back to the Arena in 33 years but, Iacofano said, it was worth the wait. Especially when Tony Caruso, UD’s equipment manager and Iacofano’s former baseball coach, gave him a personal courtside tour during warm-ups. A consummate professional, Iacofano stayed impartial during the game but admits to celebrating later.
For a guy whose career revolves around watching sports, “it was definitely a bucket list moment for me,” he said.