70th ANNIVERSARY: Matt Barrie and Randy Scott of ESPN started here at KSWO

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 6:08 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The dream for every sportscaster is to one day reach the big stage of ESPN. The current talent roster at the World Wide Leader, includes two KSWO Alums.

Matt Barrie and Randy Scott are two of ESPN’s brightest stars. But before they were shining on Sportscenter… they were honing their skills right here at KSWO.

“For me it was the most rabidly followed local sports scene I’d ever been a part of, honestly. Probably until I got to Boston,” Scott said.

“This is one that allowed me to just cut my teeth to get ready for other experiences. And I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget those two years,” Barrie said.

Matt’s journey to KSWO started in 2003… after a year away from the business. Randy was fresh out of college, hoping to get his foot in the door anywhere he could.

“KSWO had said hey we can’t fly you out for an interview. I said okay. They said, we’re not going to ask you to drive out. It’s half the dang country away. They were like we just want to talk to you, ask some questions, this and that. You understand this is going to be a Number Three sports job? I said yep,” Scott said.

“It’s basically sight-unseen. That I remember the most was that I need to get back in. I love the proximity to Norman,” Barrie said. “Oklahoma State is a little further. But this is a chance and I need to resume my career and I took the leap and did it.”

For natives of Arizona and Virginia, Lawton was a bit of a culture shock for Barrie and Scott. But both quickly realized the possibilities that KSWO offered.

“I pulled in to Oklahoma and went right to the station. I hit something in the parking lot either getting there or leaving. And it was an armadillo. It made my whole car, it was like going over a speed bump. And I thought, holy cow we are not home anymore,” Scott said.

“I remember it being in the middle of just nothing, seeing that structure out there. I’m like that looks like a shed or something. But then I remember going in. You could tell that part of it was new. Compared to what I had dealt with in Wisconsin, this place was like network-tv style because of how new and great it was,” Barrie said.

Alongside Sports Director Nathan Thompson, Barrie and Scott formed a three-man team. They excelled on Friday nights in the fall. Matt, covering some of the biggest games in the area, while Randy hustled off to some of SW Oklahoma’s smaller communities.

“It was fun. Everybody had their assignment. Everyone knew where we were going to go. Everyone knew we were going to haul ass to get to the game, get it back because then tv technology was primitive. You’re not loaded up to a laptop and sending it through. You’re running back to the station and you’re editing it and you’re getting it on. Then you’re celebrating at the end of the night and you’re going to Scooters and having a couple of pops afterwards, really relishing another Friday night in football,” Barrie said.

Matt and Randy showcased talent and enthusiasm on the anchor desk and in the field reporting. But some of their most memorable work came through promos.

“We always did the promos for when we were traveling to the BCS. That to me, what stood out to me was just being able to have that creative freedom to be able to create these absolutely boneheaded promos and commercials. And you know what? That’s what people remembered,” Barrie said.

“The one that stands out to me was I was in a trojan costume. They went to a costume store, got the big brass chest plate and the helmet with the scrubber thing on it and I had a full, fake sword and I was tied to a chair, except my arm was up and looking annoyed swinging the sword. And they were pelting me with oranges. They cut open oranges and we’re just lobbing them across the studio at me,” Scott said.

From Lawton, Randy made stops in Georgia, Florida and Boston, while Matt’s career took him to South Carolina and then Dallas. Their time at KSWO was brief, but it provided lessons that served them well as they eventually made it to ESPN.

“Attention to detail and how to shoot, truly. I mean I had to do that for every job. I had to do that… I left for Georgia, then I left Georgia for Florida. So for my next two jobs I was almost exclusively shooting my own stuff. I really got better and got good and competent at that out there,” Scott said.

“We were traveling and covering big-time games for a small market station like a big market station. So it allowed me to be out, no teleprompter, co-hosting shows at a big-time event. So by the time I got to Columbia and Steve Spurrier was there. He had just taken the job. I had already done it,” Barrie said.

Scott landed at ESPN in June of 2012. Barrie arrived less than a year later. Getting the chance to share the SportsCenter desk on occasion was a surreal moment.

“We used to have these lockers we would paint red for our Gridiron football show for Friday nights and I wasn’t even allowed to be on set for those. I was producing it, shooting the stuff and stacking the rundown and scripts and all that. But I turned to him and said ‘buddy we haven’t been on the same set much, and we spent almost a year together. And he was like, well we’re doing it here and that sort of thing,” Scott said.

“And yea the chemistry was always there. Because we didn’t stop keeping in contact after Lawton. I was in Columbia and he was in between jobs and he’d come see me and we’d visit. Then he had his whole path down through Fort Meyers and Tampa and Boston and everything. But we’d always keep in touch. And we always had that bond and those moments we had together. So yea when you were on air, you could always tell it was two buddies that knew each other’s styles,” Barrie said.

They’ve since gone their separate ways at ESPN. But the relationships they formed in Lawton is still something they look back on and reminisce about to this day.

“I probably romanticize it more than I probably would have at the time. But I wouldn’t change anything. It was people who, and I still hope it’s the case, people who care about their sports and care about what you put on the air. That was probably one of my biggest lessons is there’s no sporting event that’s too small that people won’t hold your feet to the fire if you mess something up. And that’s a good thing,” Scott said.

Randy Scott still anchors SportsCenter every weekday morning. Matt Barrie is the studio host of college football live, and does play-by-play for college football and XFL games among other duties.