Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

It is 5 p.m. on a Monday evening late in September, and Courtland Bragg stands gazing into the camera situated in the small studio on the bottom floor of Brandywine Hall, awaiting his cue. Dressed in a pink and blue checkered shirt, a dark blue tie, and pants to match, the senior communication studies student exudes confidence and determination.
“Thank you Justin and Paige. For the first time since 1996, the Golden Rams’ football team opened up their season 3-0…”
The words flow naturally. Almost as if he has replayed them in his head to the point of memorization before taking his spot on set.
 “…That’s all I have for the sports short, Justin and Paige, back to you.”
Three minutes. Just a couple of takes. That’s all he needed to complete his weekly segment he performs as a sports anchor for the popular campus news segment WCU Weekly.
“You know when someone’s got ‘it’, and when someone doesn’t, said WCU Weekly co-founder Justin Sochovka.” Courtland Bragg has most certainly got ‘it.'”
Bragg has had his sights set on a career in broadcasting since before he came to West Chester. As a senior in high school, he began to realize his interests in sports, news and television could be tied together.
“I always had a fascination with reading the news,” Bragg said. “It depresses some people, it saddens people, but to me, I love it. I love to know what’s going on in the world and that drew me to loving news. [I thought] I love being on camera, I love talking to people, why not be a broadcaster? The more I learned about it the more I found a love for it.”
But it was not Bragg’s reporting that brought him to West Chester. No, it was the very thing he found himself reporting that Monday evening that brought him here: football.
A stand out at Winslow High School in southern New Jersey, Bragg was recruited in 2011, where he red-shirted before seeing limited action in 2012 as a defensive back. This year, Bragg has made the switch to wide receiver.
“I came here to play football, but I have a dream of being a broadcaster. Being on scholarship and wanting to further my dream, I have to put all my effort into both things. It’s a commitment to both.”
A huge commitment. Game days are Saturday, and Sunday is one of only two days in the week where there are no football activities. The other day is Monday, which is when Bragg switches gears and jumps to the other side of the sport quicker than he runs a post route. It is a challenging, and a never ending pace.
“Football takes a lot out of me,” Bragg admitted. “We have practice every day. After football I have to prepare my scripts, I have to worry about what I’m going to talk about on the radio, I have to meet. It definitely is a push to do football, WCU Weekly and WCUR.”
It is a busy schedule, for sure. But it is so much more than that. In more ways than one, Bragg has used what he has learned on the field to help him advance professionally.
“Football is a major component on helping me become a broadcaster,” Bragg said. “In football we have to break down film, we have to study the opponent, we have to know the game of football. Specifically to sports, these broadcasters analyze the game, they are informing the viewers to what they don’t know, and I have that instilled in me. We do that on an every day basis, especially playing college football.”
“All my life I’ve always been the shorter guy in the field and I always had to work hard for what I want to do. I’ve never been given anything and football has given me discipline to know that you only get what you work hard for. Playing at West Chester, I have to work hard to keep my spot and improve on the depth chart and that carries over to broadcasting because broadcasting is a very tough career. I know it. Everybody tells me. But I feel like I’m prepared because football has shown me that you have to work hard. It’s going to take time but with hard work I can do it.”
That hard work has not gone unnoticed. Bill Zwaan, who is in his 11th year as the head coach of West Chester’s football team saw something in Bragg from the moment he took the field.
“Courtland is one of the hardest working young men I have ever coached,” Zwaan said. “He loves playing and gives everything he has every day, but he understands there are more important things in life and his involvement in football can help him get where he wants to go. It is great to hear that football has helped Court with advancing his dreams. As a coach it is fulfilling for us to hear that message.”
“He isn’t afraid to ask for what he wants nor is he shy of proving his worth,” added Sochovka, who has worked closely with Bragg at both WCU Weekly and WCUR. “He has given 110 percent to every task I have ever assigned him never falling short. Courtlands drive and ambition for self success will help him in the dog-eat-dog career that is broadcasting.”
Since beginning at West Chester, Bragg has been involved with not only WCU Weekly and the radio station, where he has a two hour weekly talk show and is a member of the sports committee. He also is on the TV club and has made regular appearances on several other programs. He is involved almost to the point of exhaustion, but he keeps pushing himself harder.
“Seven commitments,” Bragg said with a smile. “I never really have down time in a day. Today’s my off day and I’m still moving.”
The involvement on camps has certainly helped Courtland develop professionally and come closer to pursuing his dream. But the hard work he puts in is not just for himself. As an emerging leader on campus, and mentor for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Bragg is also trying to show by demonstration the right way to pursue a dream. Fame and glory is not what Bragg sets out for. He measures his success by different standards.
“My definition of success is not by how much money you have or the fanciest car and the mansion that you have,” Bragg said. “In my heart, I really believe that being successful is how many peoples lives did you change, how many peoples lives did you positively impact. I feel like in my life that’s why I’m here on this world. I want to positively impact somebody else. With broadcasting, everybody wants to become famous, who doesn’t? Everybody. I would love to be famous, but also achieving my dream I hope that I can inspire somebody else, give back to my community. No matter what people say and I want to be a living testimony to say that you can do it, you can achieve your dream.”
“One of my main goals is to inspire young black men to reach high and achieve one’s dream. I have a group of black males I mentor, and I tell them we are beating the odds right now. There’s more black men in jail than in college and that’s sad, that’s very sad. Where I’m from a lot of my peers are in jail and they are not in the right way. We have beat the odds and become what society says we are not.”
It is 5:30 p.m. now, and the cameras are off. Cast and crew are leaving the Digital Media Center studio, off to class or the gym or home to rest. Not Courtland Bragg. Even on his only day off, he is talking with the photographer about his delivery and positioning, then with a professor about enrolling in a class next semester to improve his radio and TV broadcasting. He is constantly trying to improve his craft.
“I’m always open to criticism, I always want to know what I have to do to improve myself,” Bragg said. “I’m always open to what do I need to do better, how was I talking how was I delivering the message.”
It is his desire to improve. It is his humble confidence (so humble that he admitted if he scored a 96-yard game winning touchdown he would not mention it in his segment, but just give himself a “pat on the back). It’s his disregard for negativity, the drive, the work ethic, the positive attitude and the dedication to bettering himself and others that has taken a dream and a football scholarship and turned it into much more.
“I want to be the best person I can be, the best broadca
ster I can be, the best football player I can be,” Bragg said. “I hope that I can look back in ten years and say I did it. Tell you [all] that I did it.”
Kenny Ayres is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *