BYU’s Jay Monsen, gentleman broadcaster



I was saddened to see Jay Monsen, the BYU broadcasting pioneer, passed away on Sunday at 79.

For those too young to know this name, Jay did radio and TV broadcasts of BYU sports for decades. Later he served in the school’s electronic media relations department.

Back in the years when I was a new college football beat writer, I knew him fairly well. I went on numerous road trips and attended a lot of football and basketball luncheons with him. He was a gentleman, the kind of friendly, professional, non-judgmental person that  represented the university well.

He was always low key but diligent, a comfortable person to be around. It’s been a few years since I talked to him, but I’ve wanted to ask him what he thought about the trend toward national TV and radio personalities shouting one another down on-air. I doubt he would have approved.  Being argumentative or disrespectful – on or off-air – wasn’t his style.

He once told me of an uncomfortable situation his daughter found herself in, through no fault of her own. Still, it was one of those things that can make parents worry. What impressed me was that he said his daughter could deal with it. He said something like, “We’ve taught our kids how to cope with things that happen and she  handled it just fine.”

The same may be said for hundreds of BYU broadcasting students, who took their cues from Jay.

One comment

  1. Rachel Monsen Whitaker

    Thank you, Brad, for these kind words about my grandfather, Jay Monsen. I can guarantee that my grandpa did not approve of the broadcasting trend. He was a kind and fair man. Yes, he was associated with BYU Sports, but he was fair and respectful of every other team and player. I remember well listening to him talk highly of players from other teams, highlighting their accomplishments, and never once belittling anyone. It was not just on air that he was that way. I had the great pleasure to accompany him to countless BYU basketball games after he retired and he was still the same. He never yelled at the refs, he never booed anyone or cheered for another’s mistake, and he would acknowledge great basketball even when it was on the other side. He was a great man and he will be missed.

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