Neal Ruhl’s official title is Director of Broadcasting at Oakland University, but “Voice of the Golden Grizzlies” gives you a much more palpable feel for what he does. Ruhl delivers the thoughtful, high-energy play-by-play broadcast for Oakland’s men’s basketball games, as well as for the Detroit City FC soccer club, United Shore Professional Baseball League in Utica, and occasionally even as a fill-in for the Detroit Pistons.
“I’m where I was meant to be, no questions about it,” Ruhl says. “I went from Macomb Community College to being one of 30 NBA announcers in the world. Think about that. That happened.”
Ruhl, who grew up in Fraser, said an independent study course at Macomb which allowed him to produce his own sports talk radio show, just like the one he hosts now on WDFN, was “the most valuable class I’ve taken in my school career in terms of how it relates to my real-world profession. That’s a fact. It was real-world, practical curriculum.”
When the time came to transfer to Oakland – where he would finish his bachelor’s degree in journalism – Ruhl said Macomb made it easier than he could have imagined.
“The biggest compliment I can give is that I didn’t notice a difference going from Macomb to Oakland – it was that seamless,” Ruhl said. “I met with the advisors at Macomb after every semester, and everything was spelled out – it was very plug-and-play. Academically, I slid right in.”
Ruhl is as big an Oakland University supporter as anyone, given his current leadership role and the ranks he’s climbed there. But he’s similarly enthusiastic about the “perfect springboard” he found at Macomb.
“Don’t concern yourself with the stigma of community college, because especially with the ease of transfer of credits, Macomb was like a university to me. I don’t notice a difference in retrospect. And quite frankly, you’re foolish if you don’t go to Macomb economically,” he said. “I’m really, really happy with my time at Macomb and what it did for me. Looking back on it, my time at Macomb set the wheels in motion for me to be where I’m at today.”