When I moved to Conway, one of the radio stations I began listening to was a radio station from Little Rock, 98.5. I learned that one of the morning DJs was Conway resident, Jeff Matthews. I enjoyed his morning show and thought he was really good at getting folks ready for the day.
As it turns out, Jeff is also the voice of the Wampus Cats calling Conway sports for 18 years. If you attend a UCA football game, you can hear him there too as he is the Public Address announcer for the Bears.
These days, Matthews has traded in his early mornings as a radio DJ to be the Public Relations/Production Specialist for Conway Corporation.
We asked Jeff Matthews a few questions as he gets ready for his 19th year of Conway sports as the voice of the Wampus Cats.
How many years have you been calling Wampus Cat sports?
This is the start of my 19th season calling the Wampus Cat games on TV for Conway Corp.
What was your most memorable experience calling Wampus athletics?
On the football side, it would have to be going back to the earliest years and watching Peyton Hillis go from a Sophomore starting at Tight End to a Division 1 and NFL caliber Fullback.
But if I had to pin it down to one game, it would have to be the 2009 game at Fayetteville against the Brandon Allen led Fayetteville Bulldogs. We had not been in the playoffs for a few years and hadn’t won a playoff game since Peyton Hills was in the backfield. It was a thrilling back and forth game that we won in the last minute.
What will be new this year with Conway Corp’s coverage of Wampus Cat athletics?
One thing that we have added this year is actually happening now with the addition of Wampus Cat Classics – where each Friday night in August leading up to the start of the season we take a look back at a classic game that we broadcast. As far as the current season, we are expanding our pre-game coverage more, and we will be using more player graphics throughout the game. We really want viewers to get to see these players faces and know who they are!
What school is your favorite place to visit for a game?
I’m a fan of history and more specifically sports history – so I absolutely love calling games at Quigley Stadium at Little Rock Central. So much history there – it was the Razorbacks home in Little Rock before War Memorial was built. Plus the history of the school, of course. It’s a special place for sure. Like stepping back in time.
What do you like to do when not calling Wampus Cat athletics?
If I’m not working, then I love to spend time with my girlfriend, Kandi, making the most of our time together! It’s busy with kids, I have three, and she has one, so we are on the go a lot. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Can share a challenging or funny experience you had during your time calling the games?
I would say the most challenging was when it became clear that our broadcast operation had outgrown most press boxes and we had to move to the top of the visiting stands in stadiums. At first, it felt more like an annoyance – now – we love it! We set up right amongst our fellow Conway fans. We get to see them and be a part of the night in an entirely new way each time out on the road! We have been in the middle of some pretty jubilant stands over the years – Russellville in 2003 comes to mind in the playoffs. I couldn’t see the end zone because of fans standing in the way – our entire set was shaking from the excitement.
What would you like fans to know entering this year of sports?
I would want fans to know that after being around a lot of Conway High athletes and coaches over the years – that I have always been proud of my association personally, and our association as a company, to be associated with them because of how they won and lost. We’ve been blessed with strong character coaches and players who love to compete with “CONWAY” across their chests. I don’t expect any less this year!
Wrapping it up
You can get all the information of Wampus Cat athletic coverage from the Conway Corp website. As Jeff mentioned, they are currently running classic games leading up to the start of the 2019 football season. Fans can see games from previous seasons on the Youtube channel.
The first Conway football game is August 30 at El Dorado. The first home game is September 13 versus Jonesboro.