Over the past 70 years on the Central Coast, there have been athletes from Paso Robles to Santa Barbara who have gone on to win gold medals in the Olympics, win Super Bowls, or starred in their roles at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.
Tragedies like the 1960 Cal Poly football plane crash and the successes of the multiple athletes to play professionally are numerous. The people who covered them, though, are part of a much more exclusive club.
From 1983 to 1994, KSBY Sports Director Mitch Massey captivated audiences, delivering highlights off the cuff with no script. However, his biggest thrill would be partaking in the award-winning "Sports Challenge" where you could see Massey’s personality truly shine.
“That was probably what I was being remembered for — that goofy guy that would just take on all these different sports and get abused,” Massey said.
From 2004 to 2013, sports director Andrew Masuda was the boots on the ground for moments like Cabrillo’s left-handed star Danny Duffy getting drafted by the Kansas City Royals
“Just being able to be here and documenting our local athletes, making to the pros like Danny Duffy, who was drafted on his high school graduation from Cabrillo High. We followed him through the minors and when he made his debut in California with the Royals, that was pretty awesome.”
For both of them, the rivalries like Paso Robles and Atascadero, made the job special watching communities flock to a football field on a Friday night.
“Covering my first Paso Robles Atascadero rivalry game, Arroyo Grande, SLO, Poly UCSB, it just became something that I was excited and proud to be a part of as cheesy as it sounds,” Masuda recalled.
One of Massey's fondest moments as sports director would be the CIF Southern Section championship between the two schools in 1993 where Atascadero came away with the victory.
The impact of our station’s sports coverage has also left its impact on the area. For example, in 1990, UC Santa Barbara took down number-one ranked UNLV. Massey would be the one to first call the the Gaucho’s basketball facility, the Thunderdome which is what it remains to this day.
“To be there doing a live shot and next thing you know, I'm caught up in a wave of people that just go and I no longer existed, that's fun.”
In 2008, the world watched the Beijing Olympics while Masuda highlighted the likes of Central Coast natives Jason Lezack, Gina Miles and Stephanie Brown Trafton — all of whom won gold for the U.S.A.
“These are local athletes at the biggest stage in the world medaling. That was super cool."
With a near 20 years combined at the helm of the sports department, the baseline function for both Masuda and Massey was to connect with the communities and cover what was important to them.
“Whether you're 80 years old or a freshman in high school, people come to accept and kind of appreciate,” Masuda said of the Central Coast sports fandom.
“In my case, the duration of time being here, I would do a story on someone who, let's say is six and now at the time they're 18, where they've evolved as a college, you get to go on this journey with them,” Massey explained fondly.
The list can go on and on of special, community-defining moments over the past 70 years but at the end of the day, what better job is there than to talk about sports for a living and the privilege to cover the journeys of so many right here in the Central Coast that supply no shortage of worthwhile stories.