Sunday, August 27, 2006
The Only Man for This High-Pressure Job
Weather can play a big part in a game. You know trouble is around the corner when a 998-millibar low moves into the area, but exactly how will it impact the kicking game? Mixing Mother Nature and football is dangerous business and best left to professionals, but finding the right meteorologist for the Wiz proved to be a daunting task. We needed somebody who could break down not only the science, but also the passing game. Enter a man who needs no introduction. He comes to us from KREX in Grand Junction and has built an enormous cyberspace following from his days at WCCB in Charlotte, where his unique and innovative approach to weather sent the station's ratings through the roof. Welcome former college quarterback and meteorologist extraordinaire Mark Mathis, who will be bringing his forecasting wizardry to the Wiz.
Wiz: Tell us about your playing career.
Mathis: I was a walk-on at Baylor during the Southwest Conference days and the scout team's quarterback for two-and-a-half years. When I realized I was not going to play, I decided to drink beer and chase women. Not necessarily in that order!
Most of the teams we played back then ran the option or power-I offense, which means I got the hell beat out of me during the week. My sophomore year we had the No. 2 defense in the country. We had guys like Ray Crockett (Denver and Detroit), Thomas Everett (Dallas, Pittsburgh), Ron Francis (Dallas), James Francis (Cleveland) and Ray Berry (Minnesota). I was officially the fourth-team quarterback behind Cody Carlson (Houston) and Tom Mickey (Canadian Football League). They called me Flutie, and later in life they called me Rudy!
I had scholarship offers to play at Air Force and Kansas State, but my entire family went to Baylor so I thought I could walk on there and play. I didn't, just got the hell beat out of me.
Wiz: How the heck did you go from college football to weather phenomenon?
Mathis: I wanted to do sports right out of college but saw how hard the sports guys work in small markets and decided weather was the way to go. I went to Mississippi State and got my meteorology degree. I had stops all over the country doing "normal ... we are going to save your life" weather and just got sick of it.
When I went to Charlotte they said I could have a little fun. Well, I kicked that door down pretty quick. I think I did everything on air but the weather in Charlotte! It was a great deal of fun. I knew I couldn't compete with the other big stations because those guys just loved the weather, so I decided to go the opposite direction. James Ray says, "If you want to be a success, find out which way everyone else is going and head the opposite direction." Well I did!
Wiz: Your tenure in Charlotte brought you notoriety on many fronts. Can you tell me about the experience?
Mathis: The GM in Charlotte wanted to "create a disturbance" while I was in Charlotte. So I did! It worked and it got noticed. I always thought if someone (out of five stations) would do what I did, I knew it would get noticed but would it be successful? Well, it got noticed and it was highly successful! It almost developed this cult following after a while. If I did the weather normal for a few days the GM would run back to the weather office and ask if I was looking for a job. It was a lot of fun and mostly ad-lib. I would just play off of the story (usually an entertaining one) right before the main weather.
Wiz: What are the meteorological equivalents to X's and Os?
Mathis: Bruce Coslet, Famous Football Quotes: "We can't run. We can't pass. We can't stop the run. We can't stop the pass. We can't kick. Other than that, we're just not a very good football team right now."
Mark Mathis: "I can't predict storms, I hate upper atmospheric discussions. 700mb charts bore me, hurricanes get on my nerves and who the hell cares about a tornado in Kansas? Other than that, I am just not a really good meteorologist.
Wiz: Anything you would like to say independent of this to our audience?
Mathis: I love the quote from Bill Cosby: "I don't know what the secret of success is but I know the secret of failure ... and that is constantly trying to please everyone!"
Wiz: One more thing: Is there a site you would like to plug?
Posted by dawizofodds at 1:58 AM