Buddy Kimberlin

A conversation with the Director of 12th Man Productions

By Adam Quisenberry

As a former student worker yourself, how is Texas A&M Athletics preparing a new generation of students for careers in the video productions industry?

I started at 12th Man Productions as a senior in 2005 and was really just looking to get my foot in the door of the sports world. At the time, there were four full-time employees and 10 student workers. It really turned out to be great for me because it was a combination of two things I really loved –art and sports.

We’ve really grown since my time as a student, to a place where nearly 100 A&M students can get real-world experiences covering athletics and making digital content. When trying to find that first job out of school, experience separates your resume from the rest of the stack.

In addition to giving Texas A&M the nation’s best college football venue, how were the broadcast facilities affected by the redevelopment of Kyle Field?

We knew going into the renovation project that our old facility, which was on the west side, was going to go away and we would have to move somewhere else. Fortunately, we were able to plan out a state-of-the-art production facility in the south side of the stadium.

As they were with the entire stadium renovation, 12th Man Foundation donors were critical in allowing us to do a true broadcast facility and do it the right way because we knew the SEC Network was about to launch. We wanted to be at the forefront by going beyond the minimum standards ESPN was requesting.

Because of donor support, we were able to build four control rooms instead of just one or two. It’s a huge selling point for recruits, as well as families of our current student-athletes, that all of our home events are going to be broadcast or streamed. No matter what sport or competition, we wanted to make sure fans have the ability to watch our teams compete. A lot of other schools in the SEC and around the country can’t say that because they’re limited by their production facility. That was directly made possible because of donor support.

You and the in-stadium broadcast team earned a bit of Aggie celebrity status following last year’s win over LSU by helping spot Kellen Mond’s knee on the ground at a key moment. How crazy was that moment and everything that followed?

It’s interesting because when we’re doing the big screen during the game, it’s very different than doing a TV broadcast because we’re 100 percent maroon and white. It’s a biased show inside the stadium, so we’re doing everything we can within the rules to help the Aggies win. We’re always watching the game and anything we can see that would be in our favor, we want to make the coaching staff aware as quickly as possible so they can possibly challenge a play.

We’ve had plays like that before where an in-stadium replay might have spurred a challenge, but that play during the LSU game was just the perfect moment and led to the perfect ending of that game. At the time we didn’t think much about it, but a few days after the game we reviewed that control room moment and shared it with a few of our athletics administrators. They encouraged us to share it with our fans as a cool behind-the-scenes glimpse and it kind of blew up from there. It’s been cool to share that moment with donors and fans at events like the 12th Man Foundation Summer Meeting.

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