VERMILLION — John Thayer, the voice of South Dakota women’s basketball for the last seven seasons, is replacing Joe Van Goor as the play-by-play announcer for Coyote football and men’s basketball announced Friday by USD Director of Athletics David Herbster and Learfield IMG College.
Thayer has been the sideline reporter for Coyote football for the past five seasons. He will be joined in the booth by Gary Culver, the former coach of Vermillion High School who has served as the analyst of Coyote football broadcasts since 2013.
“I am humbled and honored for this opportunity, and look forward to continuing to tell the stories of Coyote athletes,” said Thayer. “It’s been great to work with and learn from a radio veteran like Joe for the past several years. I have really enjoyed my time watching the women’s basketball program develop into a nationally-ranked team that contends every year for a Summit League title, and look forward to a new challenge and role with the Coyote Sports Network.”
Replacing Thayer on the sidelines is Carter Woodiel who will also be the new voice of Coyote women’s basketball. Woodiel is a 2018 graduate of University of Missouri and is currently the voice of the Sioux Falls Canaries. He has also served the Sioux Falls Stampede and Midwest Communications in South Dakota.
The changes coincide with the departure of Van Goor, the Coyotes’ award-winning broadcaster who is stepping down due to the rigors of travel that accompanies Division I athletics. Van Goor hopes to spend more time with family and friends while continuing to work in the radio business locally.
“I would like to thank the University of South Dakota and Learfield IMG College for the opportunity to be the voice of the Coyotes for the past eight seasons,” said Van Goor. “In particular, I’d like to thank the many coaches, student-athletes, and athletic staff for helping me broadcast football and men’s basketball since USD became fully eligible for NCAA Division I. Being in radio for 44 years and in sportscasting for 36 years, it’s time to slow down and find opportunities closer to home.”
“As a partner with Learfield IMG College and University of South Dakota athletics, we have always been proud of the product our listeners were able to receive,” said Jeff Fuller, owner of 5 Star Communications. “Joe Van Goor was sports director at KVHT & KVTK Radio for many years before he was elevated to the play-by-play announcer for the Yotes, and now our own John Thayer will take the reins. I know John will do a great job as the voice of USD football and men’s basketball.”
Thayer hails from Eustis, Nebraska, and is a 2008 graduate of Doane College where he helped launch the Tiger Sports Network. He worked for stations in Colorado and Nebraska before arriving in Yankton in July of 2012. He became the voice of USD women’s basketball ahead of the 2013-14 campaign and joined the sidelines of Coyote football in 2015.
Thayer served as sports director of KVHT/KVTK in Yankton where he hosted a weekday sports talk show called “On the John”. In 2019, he transitioned to Coyote Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holder and sports marketing arm for USD athletics. Thayer is also the host of YoteCast, the Coyotes’ official podcast that debuted ahead of the 2019-20 academic year.
Woodiel brings a young and impressive résumé to the Coyotes’ nationally-ranked women’s program. He was named Bob Costas High School Sportscaster of the Year in 2012, received two awards from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation – one of the highest honors a collegiate journalist can receive – and a Missouri Broadcasters’ Association award in 2015 for his play-by-play work with KCOU-FM in Columbia. In addition, he has won an Edward R. Murrow Award and a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for his work in radio reporting.
Woodiel spent the 2018-19 season as the broadcaster for women’s basketball at High Point University in North Carolina, and has broadcasted basketball at William Woods University, Westminster College, University of Missouri and North Carolina Central University.
“I’m incredibly excited to join the outstanding broadcast team at the University of South Dakota,” said Woodiel. “It’s an honor to be able to learn from someone as accomplished and respected as John, and to help deliver fans the thrill of following Yotes basketball and football. I can’t wait to get started!”
Van Goor has been the voice of the Coyotes since the 2012-13 academic year and before that, during the 1990-91 academic year. In all, he spent 26 years covering the Coyotes for three different broadcasting companies.
Van Goor got involved in radio after his sophomore year in high school in 1976 in Yankton and started his sportscasting career in 1984. He has covered high school football, boys and girls basketball, wrestling and track and field in South Dakota and Nebraska. Collegiately, he’s done play-by-play for USD, SDSU and Mount Marty. Van Goor has worked for stations in his hometown of Yankton and in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Van Goor was selected Sportscaster of the Year by the South Dakota High School Coaches Association in 2005 and named South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year in 2006 as selected by his peers by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He has hosted “The Coyote Report,” USD’s weekly coach’s show for football and basketball since 2012, and produced a daily show for the Coyote Sports Network called the “Coyote Sports Minute.”