Michael Thompson’s legacy
By Sophia Mora
SAN ANTONIO – Video coordinator and athletics broadcaster for Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), Michael Thompson, leaves behind a legacy after he passed away on Saturday, Feb. 12, during an OLLU men’s basketball game.
Thompson was raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he attended John Jay High School. After graduating, he joined the United States Army as a combat engineer while he continued to pursue different radio and television opportunities.
Thompson then went on to graduate from OLLU in 2011. After that, he took a job at the University of St. Mary’s, but returned only a year later to broadcast live games for the Saints. His live game broadcasts consisted of soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball and basketball.
He was also hired as the university’s television studio technician. In this role, one of Thompson’s primary duties was producing the Lake Front Live newscast. At the time, it was the only live newscast among all the universities in San Antonio.
“Michael provided students with the space and freedom to develop their production skills through his supervision of the Lake Live Newscast,” said Antoinette Winstead, OLLU film professor. “While he provided oversight, he allowed them the creative freedom to develop innovative news segments, ranging from gaming to book reviews. If the students could conceive it, he gave them the opportunity to pursue and produce it.”
Winstead said Michael was a kind and gentle soul, who gave freely of his time and talent not for his own benefit, but for the success of those around him.
Throughout his career at OLLU, Thompson claimed various broadcasting achievements including Jan. 4, 2018, when he called his 500th game against Langston University. Thompson was just short of calling his 800th game before he passed away. In total, Thompson broadcasted 797 games.
Thompson had an impact on many OLLU individuals throughout athletics and the mass communications department. Business major, Keelin Garrity, worked alongside Thompson as a marketing and sports information intern.
“My relationship with Michael was the best one I could have ever asked for,” Garrity said. “We constantly would lean on each other when we needed help at work. At work, we talked about family to one another or how we had just finished watching the Book of Boba. It was just so fun to talk to him about it because of his contagious energy.”
Garrity said his favorite aspect about Michael was that no matter who you were he would always treat you with respect and kindness.
Thompson was never satisfied with his work. His mission was to constantly improve the Saints’ fans’ viewing experience. Live stream users can now view the score graphic, which shows outs, timeouts, scores, strikes, balls, etc., per sport. Among his other duties, he managed the new basketball scoreboard at Mabee Gymnasium and designed several video and graphic hype pieces for game days.
Garrity, who also played for the OLLU men’s soccer team, was not only affected by Thompson as colleague and mentor, but as a broadcaster for his own soccer games as well.
“I always knew no matter what happened during the game Michael would have our backs on the mic,” Garrity said. “He would always support us no matter what the result was. He absolutely loved seeing us play and we all loved listening to what he had to say.”
Thompson, along with sports information director Patricia Constantin and sports information assistant Ryan O’Keefe established a plan to create three sets of live-streaming and stats sets knowing that there would be many instances where they would have three games going on at the same time.
“We wanted to be able to give quality coverage to all games as much as possible,” Constantin said.
The sports information staff gathered and purchased the necessary equipment to accomplish their set goal. Equipment included cameras, wiring and even up to three computers for music, stats and live streaming.
On the day of Thompson’s passing, the sports information staff finally accomplished their goal of live streaming three games simultaneously.
Constantin said it brought her comfort to know that Michael he was successful in a major goal of ours.
Beside live-streaming and other video projects that Thompson provided for OLLU athletics, he also created play lists for soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball, including the walk-up songs for softball and baseball.
Thompson was not only respected across the OLLU campus, but also throughout the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). He was invited to call various tournament events across different states for all sports.
On Feb. 14 at a prayer service held for Thompson, several athletes presented roses in memorial of him while others spoke, such as OLLU athletic director, Shane Hurley.
“Since assuming the role of the ‘Voice of the Saints’ in 2009, Michael has been a friend to all,” Hurley said. “An individual of outstanding character and a true professional. He was outstanding at covering not just the broad strokes, but he was excellent at creating depth in the information about players and teams while live-streaming. If there was ever a stat he did know, it was because it had NOT happened yet.”
Thompson is survived by his 8-year-old daughter Alexis Miranda; his mother Bonnie Garcia; his stepfather Jose Garcia; his sister Lisa Smith; his sister Lizette Lowman; his sister Yvette Garber and brother-in-law Daniel Garber; his brother David Garcia; and his brother Joe Garcia.
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