The Play-By-Play: How Matt Lepay Became the Voice of the Badgers

Feb 28, 2017

It’s a good time of year to be sports fan. In the coming weeks, there are two major events on the calendar: the NCAA basketball tournament and the start of baseball season. If you listen to Wisconsin Badgers basketball games on the radio or watch the Milwaukee Brewers on TV, there’s a good chance you've heard Matt Lepay. 

Lepay is the longtime radio play-by-play man for Wisconsin basketball and football, and now a fill-in television announcer for the Brewers. Lepay is an Ohio native who has won Wisconsin’s sportscaster of the year award seven times.

The play-by-play announcer has been working with the Wisconsin Badgers for nearly 30 years, but says he "got his start" at a very young age, narrating the vibrating, plastic players on his electric football game. 

"I prided myself at the time - and it's very tongue in cheek, the way I say that - I was the voice of electric football in Vandalia, Ohio," Lepay says, laughing. 

When asked about how he ended up in Wisconsin, Lepay says bluntly, "Answered an ad." At the time, the Ohio State graduate was working in Columbus and considering graduate school. Then, by chance, he saw an ad in a now defunct broadcasting publication. 

"There was an ad for a basketball play-by-play job in Madison, Wisconsin, and a fill-in hockey announcer position, and you would also do some work, pregame, halftime, postgame with Badger football games. This was back in 1988," says Lepay. "True confessions, I didn't know a whole lot about Wisconsin basketball. I grew up in Big Ten country, but was not that familiar with Wisconsin basketball... but a Big Ten job at age 26 sounded pretty cool." 

He has been working with the Badgers ever since, and admits that while fans may not recognize him by his appearance, "the voice sometimes becomes a giveaway."

Matt Lepay will be announcing the play-by-play for the Badgers when the Bradley Center in Milwaukee hosts the NCAA tournament games on March 16th and 18th. And, then Brewers opening day is just two weeks later.

In case you're wondering about Lepay's ties to Ohio State... he holds no allegiance to the Buckeyes. Lepay says he is 100% Wisconsin.