Announcer Bryce Weiler calls Eastern men’s game Thursday, reunites with Simmons


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Announcers Bryce Weiler (right) and Mike Bradd call the Eastern men’s basketball team’s game against SIUE Thursday night on Hit-Mix 88.9. Weiler, who is blind, had been friends with Eastern head coach Marty Simmons since Simmons coached at Evansville when Weiler was a student there.

Autumn Schulz, Assistant Sports Editor

Thursday night’s matchup between the Panthers and the SIUE Cougars was seemingly just like any other game to those who filled the stands in Lantz Arena. Little did they know that some of the most important moments of the game would not be taking place on the court, but rather through the headset belonging to Bryce Weiler.  

Weiler, originally from Claremont, Illinois, is a completely blind sports commentator who has called over 150 college basketball games in his career. In addition to basketball, Weiler has also provided commentary for various collegiate athletics and many minor league baseball games. 

Needless to say, commentating Thursday evening was nothing out of the ordinary for Weiler. However, reuniting with Eastern men’s basketball head coach Marty Simmons perhaps made the broadcast one that Weiler will never forget.  

“I enjoyed being able to commentate with Mike Bradd because Mike was willing to give me the opportunity to commentate with him even though he had never done that before,” Weiler said. “Also, with Coach Simmons, he really changed my life whenever I was at Evansville. He gave me the opportunity to sit on his basketball bench.” 

Weiler credits Simmons for giving him the opportunity to experience college basketball in ways that he did not think was possible. The pair first met when Simmons coached at the University of Evansville and when Weiler was a student there.  

Simmons then became the first person to give Weiler a shot at the microphone, forever changing Weiler’s outlook on being a blind sports commentator. Simmons made it clear that the feeling of gratefulness is certainly reciprocated. 

“He’s a special person in my life and he’s done a lot for me personally and the teams I’ve coached and my family,” Simmons said. “To see a young person with his disability with a willingness to try to help other people with disabilities, and not just that, but he’s got charisma and he loves life. He’s certainly been a big inspiration in my life.” 

The willingness to try to help others with disabilities stems from the Beautiful Lives Project, a New-York based 501c3 nonprofit which Weiler co-founded. It helps people with disabilities gain access to meaningful experiences in various outlets such as athletics, performing arts and nature, among other things.  

Simmons also made it a point to acknowledge the fact that Weiler has never once used his blindness as an excuse to not be passionate, which is something that Simmons wants his own players to embody.  

“Here’s a young man that hasn’t had eyesight since birth and I’ve never once heard him use it as an excuse, and he’s so passionate,” Simmons said. “He loves coming to the games, loves being a part of it, loves being in the locker room, and loves being at practice. It’s hard to not feel good when you are around a person like that.”  

There are many people in the world of sports who yearn for the chance to do what Weiler does almost every single day, many of them dismissing their chances because, they too, have disabilities. However, Weiler wants everyone to know that you can have success in your life, no matter your circumstances, if you have the right people surrounding you.  

“It’s important to find people who really believe in you because then you can have success in your life,” Weiler said. “If it wasn’t for Mike Bradd being willing to commentate with me here today, and then Joe Pott giving me the chance to commentate when others would not allow me in 2015, I would not have been able to commentate as many games in the past.”   


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]