By Laura McAlister
When Matt Coulter isn’t at the station talking sports, he’s likely at his Vestavia Hills home watching or maybe even playing them.
Matt is host of “Inside the Huddle” on Birmingham’s 97.3 the Zone Sports Radio. From 10 a.m. to noon weekdays, he can be heard talking about the latest in sports news. But even after hours, sports are never far from this broadcaster’s thoughts.
Just enter his Vestavia Hills apartment, and the photos on the walls and memorabilia scattered around the home tell some of the story of Matt’s long career and love of sports.
With his three children almost grown – his youngest is a senior in high school – Matt downsized to apartment living about two years ago.
While Matt is a fanatic about sports, his true love is family.
His three children – Matt, Madison and Jennifer – visit frequently, as does his 1-year-old grandson, Logan.
“Logan is really just the coolest thing to happen to me,” he said on a recent Friday evening while lounging in his recliner and watching the U.S. Open. “Everything they say about grandkids is true. They’re wonderful.”
When not surrounded by family, Matt likes to get back to “work,” as he calls, although to most it’d be enjoying a good game.
“I talk about sports at work, and then I come home and watch sports,” he said. “I can always say it’s my job. It’s my job to stay up until midnight watching the Braves.”
Be it college football or Major League Baseball, Matt really does like and watch it all.
He also enjoys playing sports, and thanks to his Nintendo Wii, he can do that in the confines of his home.
“I play a lot of the Wii golf,” he said. “Surprisingly, it’s a very decent substitute.”
While the decor in Matt’s home is mostly sports related, one of his favorite pictures has nothing to do with them.
It’s a photograph of the Hubble space telescope. His father, who worked for NASA in Huntsville, had a hand in its launch.
“I like to tell people that I’m not a rocket scientist, but my father is,” he said, laughing. “My father was one of the lead members of the team that put (the Hubble) up there.”
In addition to the framed Hubble photo, Matt has pictures from his little league days as well as old baseball pictures and Daniel Moore prints.
His many photos and memorabilia show Matt’s lifelong love of sports and a storied career in broadcasting.
He’s actually been involved in radio since he was a teenager.
“I was 14 years old,” Matt said of his first job as a rock and roll disc jockey. “My parents, God bless and rest their souls, would drive me.”
Matt went on to major in broadcasting at the University of Alabama.
He worked in television for years, anchoring sports for networks like ESPN and CSS. He said he made the move to radio after his children were born.
When it comes to some of the most memorable stories of his career, he said the death of Alabama head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant had to be at the top.
“I was the first reporter at the hospital when he died,” Matt said.
His career has also taken him all over the world, including a trip across Europe with famed Alabama quarterback Kenny Stabler.
“None of it compares to getting to watch my children play sports,” he said. “I get more nervous watching them then covering them. That’s one of the reasons I got out of television. I missed too many little league games and recitals.”
While Matt can tick off several memorable sporting events during his career, one of his children’s proudest moments would probably be seeing their dad on the silver screen.
As the track announcer for Talladega Super Speedway, Matt was on the scene during the filming of “Talladega Nights.”
“They needed an announcer, and I just happened to be around,” Matt said. “It was very, very cool. People told me I did a pretty good job. I told them, that is what I do for a living. I was listed as playing myself in the credits.
“I met (“Talladega Nights” star) Will Ferrell. He was incredibly nice. They all were really nice, which was great. I went to the premiere and everything.
“I was the most popular dad at Vestavia High School for quite a while.”