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Celebrating 70 Years: Firsts in TV sports

MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – You don’t have to be a sports fan to know how passionate and enthusiastic citizens of the Miami Valley are when it comes to supporting their local teams. Sports Director Jack Pohl looks back at the greatest moments we all celebrated together as we continue WDTN's 70th anniversary celebration.

“As someone who grew up in Centerville and has worked in the Channel 2 sports department for more than 25 years, I can tell you without hesitation, Dayton is one of the best sports towns in the country,” Jack says. “NFL and a Major League teams are just down the street in Cincinnati, a powerhouse multi-national championship-winning college football team up in Columbus, and two Division I college basketball teams right in our own backyard.”

Over the last 70 years, Channel 2 sports has been there to cover those teams, and so much more.

Omar Williams once famously said something along the lines of, "I came to Dayton to get my feet wet and ended up getting drenched."

Omar went on to spend 45 years as the Sports Director at Channel 2. Shortly after going on the air for the first time back in 1949, TV 2 began airing Dayton Indians Single-A minor league baseball games.

Fast forward 50 years, and WDTN was there for the Dragons very first game at Fifth Third Field and has covered the teams’ biggest events including playoffs. The Midwest League All-Star game, the Futures game, and more. Now, keeping with that tradition, our sister station Dayton's CW will broadcast over 20 Dragons games for a third straight season this summer.

Dayton is one of the most passionate racing towns in America, and Channel 2 was the first station in the world to broadcast live automobile racing with a slew of events at the Dayton Speedway. This summer, WDTN returns to Indy to bring you coverage of the greatest spectacle in racing as the Indianapolis 500 airs for the first time on NBC.

Dayton is no doubt one of the best basketball cities in the U.S. The NCAA tournament gets started here every year with the First Four, and of course, our Division I basketball programs enjoy a rich history of success, with the Dayton Flyers men's team dancing all the way to two NCAA Elite 8 appearances, and Wright State making the NCAA tournament twice.  The women's programs have also excelled.

But perhaps our biggest impact over the last 70 years has been covering high school sports, with the award-winning trend-setting Operation Football debuting in 1984, and every season since, we've been giving you the best highlights under the Friday night lights. From the fans in the stands to the awesome bands, from the cheerleaders to the state championship games, we've been there and will continue to be there in the future with even more coverage both on the air and online at WDTN.com.

It doesn't end with football. We're covering the high school scene throughout the year with Operation Basketball Team of the Week and the Penn Station Athlete of the Month that's been showcasing the Miami Valley's top student athletes for over 20 years.

 

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