While Suns fans usually only get to enjoy the signature style of play-by-play man Al McCoy for a few hours every game night, one lucky pair of Phoenix fans got their own in-person experience recently – dining with the Hall of Fame broadcaster.
Season-ticket holder Tia Byrd and her mother, Lucille, recently won the opportunity to have dinner with McCoy at Donovan’s Steak & Chop House on the Camelback Corridor in Phoenix, through a special contest featured in-game and in the Suns’ official game night publication, Free Throw.
From growing up in Iowa to his near-four-decade tenure with the Suns, Tia picked up some of the broadcaster’s bio facts that you won’t find in the Suns’ media guide:
“His hometown had a population of 600 people, while his high school class only had 15.”
“He raised three sons and has two grandsons in college and another grandson is a senior in high school.”
“He likes to stay close to home during the offseason since he travels so much with the team.”
“Traveling with the team can be tiring, but he enjoys it. The team usually leaves Phoenix right after games, they sometimes arrive at the host city hotel at 4 in the morning and try to rest when other people are getting up to leave the hotel.”
“He talked about the Al McCoy Media Center (at US Airways Center) and how (such an honor) is usually not done until after the person has died. He stated how when other media personnel come to town they are very impressed and sometimes ask him if he’s dead.”
A Suns fan since the 1992-93 season, Tia admitted that the hoopla heading into that magical season peaked her newfound interest in the sport, as did the on-air pairing of McCoy and Cotton Fitzsimmons for the TV broadcasts.
“I started watching because there was so much media coverage about Charles Barkley, the new arena, a new coach and new uniforms. I learned everything about basketball by watching Al and Cotton. They made it so easy to understand and explained everything that was going on during the game, meeting him in person was such an honor.
“I was very impressed. He is very humble and doesn’t like a lot of attention even though I think he really deserves it. He is a great, great guy… so gracious. I know that I have made a new friend, and I would love to see the Suns win a championship for him.”