Legendary boxing announcer Barry Tompkins, who works for Time Warner Cable and is a frequent contributor and host on Comcast Sports Net Bay Area’s Chronicle Live, has joined the faculty at Dominican University of California.
Tompkins will begin teaching a weekly broadcasting class on Jan. 28 at the University where, in the mid-1990’s, he directed a summer broadcasting camp on campus.
“Having Barry teach our Broadcasting Sports for TV course is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a great example of the engaged learning we emphasize at Dominican for our students,” said Bradley Van Alstyne, chair of Dominican’s Department of Communications and Media Studies. “Finding a teacher with Barry’s lifetime experience and achievements will afford our students an educational experience they no doubt will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Tompkins is a 40-year network television veteran. He is a play-by-play broadcaster, a four-time Emmy Award winner and, in 2006, was voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for his work as a boxing commentator.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Tompkins began his career at KPIX TV in 1968. Since then he has spent five years at NBC, 10 years at HBO, eight years at ESPN, 15 years at Fox Sports and currently does the ShoBox and Championship Boxing series’ for Showtime while continuing to do a full schedule of college football and basketball.
“I've always enjoyed lecturing classes, which I've done for years whenever I'm in a college town,” Tompkins said. “I think I generally learn as much from the students as they might learn from me. I'm not an academician and have never aspired to be so — I hate theory. But, the good news is what I do is not about theory, it's about reality and the ability to paint a word picture that doesn't usurp the event but simply frames it.”
Tompkins’ credits include play-by-play commentary of the Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, NCAA Final Four, eight Olympic Games, Tour de France, Wimbledon, French Open and the U.S. Open Tennis, World Gymnastics Championships, World Swimming and Diving Championships, World Figure Skating Championships, and horse racing’s Triple Crown, World Cup Skiing, San Francisco Giants’ baseball and more than 200 world championship fights.
Tompkins also portrayed a USA Network sportscaster for the movie “Rocky IV,” calling play-by-play for the Rocky Balboa-Ivan Drago heavyweight title fight in Russia.
In addition, Tompkins has covered the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA golf events, the Indianapolis, baseball’s World Series, hockey’s Stanley Cup, and the World Cup in soccer.
Tompkins has been associated nationally with Pacific 12 Conference football and basketball for the past 35 years. He also does Mountain West Conference football and Mountain West and WCC basketball for Time Warner Cable.
“I often have people tell me what a great job I have because I only work three or four hours a week and I get to go to sports events for free,” Tompkins said. “All the work takes place before those three hours and most of it is grunt work. What I do is really story-telling and that's what I hope to impart to my class. Story telling covers the width and breadth of sports television, be it a feature story, a news story, an interview, a documentary, or a game.”
In addition to his broadcasting work, Tompkins writes a humor column for the Marin Independent Journal and is a contributing columnist for Comcast Sports Net Bay Area.
He is married to author Joan Ryan. They live in Ross and have a son, Ryan, 22, and are new parents to a Border Collie-Great Pyrenees puppy named Rosie.