The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Steve Fenk Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

August 12, 2014


“A View From Inside the Athletic Department”  August 12, 2014  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Fenk discusses his upbringing on a dairy farm in Tillamook, Oregon, his Beaver fandom as a boy, and his early interest in sports broadcasting, including a formative internship at KEX radio. From there, Fenk provides an in-depth account of his undergraduate years at OSU, including his academic progression, his contacts with numerous notable personalities in the OSU Athletic Department, his work with the OSU wrestling and basketball teams, and his memory of the campus climate at OSU in the mid-1980s. Of particular note are Fenk's recollections of his work as a color analyst for Beaver basketball games and his post-game responsibilities interviewing basketball coach Ralph Miller.

Fenk next recounts his tenure as an intern with the Pacific-10 Conference and his first professional employment at Montana State University, before describing his return to OSU in 1990 as Assistant Sports Information Director. In reflecting on his career at OSU, Fenk shares his memories of notable administrators and coaches, including Paul Risser, Mitch Barnhart, Bob De Carolis, Dennis Erickson, Mike Riley, and Oregon State broadcaster Mike Parker. He likewise provides a glimpse into daily life in the Athletic Department and lends his perspective on a number of memorable events in recent athletics history, including the 1998 Civil War football game, the 2000 Fiesta Bowl football season, OSU football's upset of top-ranked USC in 2008, and the 2006 and 2007 national champion baseball teams.

The interview concludes with Fenk's insights on various awards campaigns that he has managed and the Athletic Department's Everyday Champions program, and closes with his thoughts on the future of college athletics in a rapidly changing landscape.