It was just a regular evening for Jordon Lawrenz as he settled down to watch TV with his family when he received a text from his friend and colleague and mentor Jim Medley. “Congratulations my friend,” he read. “We just won first place for the sports play-by-play from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. It was the Keil-Roncalli game.”
Lawrenz didn’t recall being part of that radio broadcast. Turns out the honor was for a broadcast the previous year. Not only had Lawrenz won such a prestigious award, but he had done it as a high school senior!
Now a sophomore at UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus, Lawrenz is taking his broadcasting opportunities to a new level—Division I athletics, to be exact. When his faculty members heard that he had won this award, they thought of Lawrenz first when an opportunity arose to call women’s volleyball with ESPN+.
“One random email that I sent to faculty member Michael Bina turned into me making my ESPN+ debut for the UW-Green Bay women’s volleyball.” From there came more opportunities to announce for other UW-Green Bay sports teams. And this winter, he will be taking advantage of a few behind-the-scenes opportunities with Green Bay athletics, while returning to his roots and calling high school basketball for Seehafer Broadcasting (WOMT and WCUB) in his hometown (Manitowoc) and surrounding areas.
Thoughts of becoming a sports broadcaster started when Lawrenz was a participant in youth basketball and baseball. Not only did those opportunities provide some of his favorite memories, but helped him gain the abundance of knowledge he now needs to break down games.
His motto of taking advantage of every opportunity is clearly seen in his path to progress, and started early in his education. In high school, a conversation with his high school chemistry teacher, Ms. Erin Otte-Meyer, turned into Otte-Meyer sharing a contact Jim Medley that would propel Lawrenz into the start of his broadcasting career. An e-mail to, and an interview with, the seasoned broadcaster, eventually led to Lawrenz working with Medley as a sports broadcaster for high school basketball games, and the subsequent broadcaster’s award.
“I have learned that you never know when an opportunity might arise, so you have to be prepared for anything,” Lawrenz says.
Leaving no stone unturned, he started looking into colleges that could help him achieve his career path.
“There was something relatively new at Green Bay that caught my attention. The communication major here has so many different elements, and I was drawn to the sports communication element. I knew it was right up my alley.”
Lawrenz believes he made the best choice and has credited UW-Green Bay for helping him follow his broadcasting aspirations.
Now that Lawrenz has gotten into sports broadcasting, how does he continue to keep a shoe in such a competitive industry?
“As an avid sports fan, it’s not too hard,” he explains. “There’s so much information out there, and it’s impossible to stay up to date on everything. However, if there’s a story someone mentions, or even a piece of news that I was unaware of, I’ll immediately read up on it.” This love of sports and learning about sports can be seen in his side hobby—the podcast Jordon and Drew: The Sports Crew.
“Every week we talk about sports for about an hour. It’s a passion project of ours, and always is a ton of fun. I’d say if anything, the podcast encourages me to read up more on certain stories so I can sound as knowledgeable as possible.”
Continuous learning is a tip Lawrenz would share to aspiring sports broadcasting students.
“There’s no such thing as being over-prepared, but there is being under-prepared.” Lawrenz advises coming with a stack of notes because no matter the situation, you’ll always have something to jump back on if needed. He also encourages students to keep playing even after they’ve ‘broken into’ the industry.
“The next toughest part is navigating your journey once you’re here. Sometimes, you really don’t get to pick and choose. Just doing whatever you can to get your name out there is the best work you can do.”
And one never knows where that next connection will come from. He says he works to be a friend to everyone he meets. And he is glad to have a strong supporting cast behind the scenes.
“I can’t thank my parents enough for shaping me to be the person who I am today,” he says.
Lawrenz is proud of his progression. He’s gotten a lot of amazing experiences and opened a bunch of different doors. It’s just about figuring out what door he’ll want to walk through next.
“TV broadcasting seems like the next step in progression for me. This’ll be the fourth year in a row I’m doing radio…radio is more difficult, and I love the challenge, but I grew up aspiring to be a television broadcaster.”
Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see UW-Green Bay’s very own Jordon Lawrenz on national television breaking down a Final Four or a World Series to audiences all over the world.
Story by Marketing and University Communication Student Assistant Soundyara Ritzman