First-year University of Maine men’s hockey coach Ben Barr won’t have any trouble remembering the name of the new sports director and anchor at WABI in Bangor.
That is because his name is Ben Barr.
The UMaine coach is from Faribault, Minnesota. The new sportscaster for Bangor’s CBS affiliate is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The coach called the association “really weird” but “awesome.”
“There weren’t any Barrs in the midwest outside of my immediate family but there are a lot of them here in the east,” he said. “Maybe we’re related somehow.”
At WABI, “everybody is having a good laugh about it already,” said the 29-year-old sports director, who has been working in Minot, North Dakota, for KMOT, a NBC- and Fox-affiliated station. He will start in Maine on Sept. 1.
Barr’s job will be virtually the same at the dominant network in the Bangor market as it was in North Dakota as a one-man sports department. He will replace Eric Gullickson, who left after eight years to take a news anchor job at WITN in Greenville, North Carolina.
“I’m really excited,” Barr said. “I’m ready to get going.”
Barr said there were several reasons behind his decision to seek the WABI job: He will be able to cover a Division I program at the University of Maine after following Division II Minot State University. He has wanted to come east to be closer to his family and pointed out there are direct flights from Bangor to Philadelphia and Baltimore.
The University of Maryland graduate said he will be working for a company, Gray Television, that owns several TV stations, so employees can earn opportunities to move within the company. He also likes Bangor’s proximity to major cities like Boston and Montreal.
The former hockey and tennis player said he takes his job seriously but he also likes to have fun and inject humor. He wants to do stories across the state within a wide viewership range so he isn’t just a Bangor-oriented anchor.
And he is looking forward to meeting his namesake.
“Maybe I can package a show called ‘Ben Barr sits down with Ben Barr,’” he said.
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