Nominated by Rob Stoops & Jack Irving
Matt Underwood was born to Gary and
Sophia Underwood in Zanesville, Ohio on
May 10th, 1968. In 1972 the Underwood family moved to Ashland, a place
they still call home to this day.
Thanks to his parents, who were supportive and encouraging, Matt
played T-ball, Minor, Major and Pony League baseball. He also played YMCA
basketball and was selected to the Plymouth Vikings travel team. Matt also
participated in the J.A.W.S. wrestling program for six years.
Matt's greatest love, however, was football and he began playing at Ashland
Junior High School in the seventh grade. The following year he joined
the track and field team as a distance runner and a new passion was born, the
mile run. Matt lettered three years at Ashland High School in track and field
and participated in such high profile events as the Jesse Owens Indoor Classic
at Ohio State and the Knights of Columbus Meet at the Richfield Coliseum.
In his senior season Matt was named starting quarterback and co-captain
for the 1985 Arrows. They won more games and scored more points than any
Ashland team in over a decade. Matt graduated as the Arrows all-time leader
in completion percentage and only Todd Wait threw more touchdown passes
in a single-season from 1974-1986, than Underwood.
Matt was named second team All-Cardinal Conference and was an Honorable
mention NCO Coaches selection. He was selected to play in the first
annual NCO All-Star Football Classic and was awarded the first ever Harley
Jonas Freer Athletic Memorial Scholarship upon graduation.
After two injury-plagued seasons at Baldwin-Wallace College, Matt decided
to "retire" from football and quickly turned his attention to broadcasting.
He became the Sports Director at WBWC and called the play-by-play for
B-W football, basketball, and baseball games. Upon the 50th Anniversary of
WBWC in 2008, Matt was named to their inaugural Hall of Fame class.
Matt began his professional broadcasting career at WEWS-TV 5 in Cleveland
under sports casting legend Nev Chandler. He made his on-air debut in
1994, anchoring the 11pm sports segment. Underwood also provided on-air
sports updates at the WKNR Radio and called play-by-play action for the
WVIZ TV-25 High School Game of the Week.
In 1997, Matt was named Sports Director at WEWS and at the age of 28
was one of the youngest sports anchors in a top-15 market in the country.
During his 3 years leading TV-5's sports coverage, he reported on everything
from the Indians World Series run in 1997 to the Browns return to Cleveland
in 1999. At the same time Matt was also hosting the pre-game show
for the Indians Radio Network as well as Indians Gametime, which aired on
Underwood was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1996 of his live reporting
on Albert Bell signing with the Chicago White Sox and again in 1999
as host of the Browns Comeback Pre-Game Show. In 1997 Matt won an Emmy
for his role as host of Indians Gametime.
Matt made the decision to leave WEWS in 2000 when he was offered the
job of doing play-by-play for Cleveland Indians baseball on radio. He worked
with Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan for seven years before moving back to
TV in 2007. Underwood just finished his fourth season working with Rick
Manning as the play-by-play voice for Indians baseball on SportsTime Ohio
He also enjoys calling the action for STO's coverage of the high school
football playoffs and the state championship games. In 2007, Underwood
was in the booth at Community Stadium calling the Arrows playoff win over
Olentangy Liberty on STO.
Matt married his wife, Shelley, in 1994 and they now live in Avon Lake
with their two children, Max and Devan. He has been blessed with an amazing
family and incredible support of so many friends, Ashland is never far
from his heart or mind.