Don KaullThe second career ended up lasting longer than his first.
Retired insurance executive spent 35 years in court with University of Rhode Island men’s basketball radio brigade. NCAA tournament victories, Atlantic 10 conference championships, and various other program milestones have been of particular importance to program alumni. His voice usually betrayed his emotions at such moments.
Kaull will withdraw from the 2022/23 season. Steve McDonald will continue to play his role at Learfield and its subsidiary Rhody Sports Properties. Providence Chief Marketing Officer Chris DiSano will join McDonald and Stone Freeman in a three-person rotation.
“It meant a lot,” Kaull said. “It helped me to actively engage in basketball. I think if I watched two games a week on TV, I wouldn’t be as passionate as I used to be.
“When you go live for a game, you need to prepare carefully. You have to prepare in a couple of hours, look at all the statistics, figure everything out. It kept my mind pretty sharp.”
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Kaull barely played for the Rams last season, attending a home game on Feb. 26. defeat Duquesne and sat on the press row. His journey has been limited by an early battle with COVID-19 in 2020 and an ongoing battle with a treatable form of cancer. Kaull said he’s only been on the golf course a handful of times this summer — his outdoor activities have mostly been limited to riding a lawn mower and backyard at his home in Portsmouth.
“I really liked it,” Kaull said. “I really liked the coaches who were there.
“In fact, the other day, out of the blue on a Sunday, Jim Baron called me from Florida. He just wanted to check how I feel. That’s the kind of friendship you have.”
Kaull became Rodgers’ all-time leading scorer. and continued his career in the URI Hall of Fame. He was a three-time competition winner in the 1960s, played in a much more exclusive version of March Madness, and had a successful business career. His grandfatherly presence in Kingston is quite natural – Kaull and his wife Caroline have three children and 10 grandchildren.
“There are so many words that would fit, but the word ‘kindness’ fits me best,” McDonald said. “He is so kind, so considerate, so patient with everyone.
“If there is a flight delay – “Oh, you know, everything is fine.” If it was this or that, “Ah, don’t worry about it. It’s OK. Everyone makes mistakes. You will be fine.’ ”
It didn’t take Kaull long to list a few of his favorite memories – topping the Elite Eight and losing in Kansas in 1998. Returning to a couple of NCAA tournaments in 2017 and 2018 gave Kaull a couple of highlights in his career. The Rams clinched the conference crown of the tournament, sealing the first bid, and won their first regular season title to claim second place.
“Kids don’t understand how important this is,” Kaull said. “It’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
Kaull’s departure shakes up what has been a solid local men’s basketball radio lineup in recent seasons. John Rook and Joe Hassett have been calling Providence games for three decades, and Brown talked about the extended partnership between Scott Cordiski and program alumnus Russ Tyler. Bryant leads alongside John Wallach in both men’s basketball and football publicity—he’s the main character on Boston sports radio with 98.5 FM The Sports Hub.
“It’s a natural progression for Chris,” McDonald said. “He’s so super prepared for every game and he’s such a great guy.”
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DiSano is a regular online contributor to Cox Communications and has served as a broadcast analyst for YurView, a local television and streaming operator for URI. In the mid-2000s, he founded the College Chalktalk online blog, creating a national network of coaches to contribute. DiSano is a Warwick native and previously paired with McDonald and Freeman, a recent Rams graduate who now has a dual role as Head of Marketing for Learfield and Associate Professor at URI.
“I’ll be naming most of the games this season,” DiSano said in an online article this week. “I will never replace Don, but I will do my best.”
On Twitter: @BillKoch25
This article originally appeared in Providence magazine: URI radio host Don Kaull retires