(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)
“He was a great, great broadcaster…but he was a better human being.”
The recent news of the passing of Beaver County Radio’s Bob Barrickman opened the vaults of memory banks all throughout the county, and few had more in their vaults than those who worked alongside him during a sports broadcast. Current Beaver County Radio sports broadcaster Mike Azadian and former Beaver County Radio sports broadcaster Tom Hays reminisced about working with Bob on the December 7 edition of A.M. Beaver County.
Azadian, who joined the BCR Sports staff in 2020, learned very quickly what made Bob stand out as a broadcaster…including the parts where one does not stand out. “He was not about himself, he was about the kids,” Azadian stated. “I learned that it was that…you present the game, you talk about the kids, and you don’t make it about yourself. A lot of people in society today do that, and I learned that from Bob.”
That sense of empathy that Barrickman had towards high school sports and its athletes was also showcased when the game was over and analysis became the focus. “Bob was never really ‘pushy’,” Azadian added. “If a game was a tough game, Bob would ask good questions and tough questions, but he wouldn’t do anything to try and embarrass a coach or a player…he wasn’t about making people look bad.”
The Thursday night broadcast of the PIAA Class 4A football championship between Aliquippa and Bishop McDevitt, which Azadian will call with Bruce Frey, will be dedicated to Bob Barrickman.
The news was even tougher for Tom Hays, who had known Bob since their days in the late 1970s as co-workers for the Beaver County Times, before the future Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame Broadcaster (Bob in 2008) would recruit the future Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame Broadcaster (Tom in 2019) to join Beaver County Radio in the mid-1980s. From then until Hays’ retirement in 2020, the duo called countless championship and playoff (let alone regular season) contests in basketball, football, and other sports for Beaver County Teams.
“Bob was the absolute best,” Hays stated. “His passion for Beaver County high school sports [was] second to none. His knowledge is unbelievable. His preparation was unbelievable. I mean, I put a lot of time into every broadcast that I did…but Bob probably doubled that amount of preparation time.”
More so than the legendary broadcaster, Tom remembers Bob as a man without few rivals in Beaver County.
“He was a great guy, and that is not a cliché. That is a fact. Beaver County has lost a legend…I don’t think, in my life, I’ve ever met a finer gentleman than Bob Barrickman.”