Jay Monsen, TV "Voice of the Cougars," passes away

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Jay Monsen, who for a generation of BYU fans was the television "Voice of the Cougars," passed away on Sunday afternoon, in Mount Pleasant, Utah. He was 79 years old.

Monsen, who had previously overcome three battles with cancer, succumbed to a fourth bout with the disease after a recent round of treatment.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 19th at 11:00 a.m., in the Mt. Pleasant 3rd Ward building (295 South State, Mt. Pleasant, Utah). There will be a viewing at the church one hour before the funeral, as well as the prior evening, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Rasmussen Funeral Home (96 N 100 W, Mt. Pleasant, Utah). Interment will be in the Mt. Pleasant City Cemetery.


A BYU graduate in 1957, Jay began calling BYU football and basketball games on KBYU-TV in 1972, and combined that role with later service in the BYU Sports Information Office, where he was employed as an Associate Sports Information Director and Electronic Media Relations Director.

Following his retirement in 1998, Jay remained involved with BYU Athletics, calling play-by-play for the women's basketball games on BYU Radio, from 2002-2010. He would also occasionally honor KSL Radio with his talents, substituting on the headset as recently as 2007.

You can click on the link in "Cougar Cuts," above left, to hear him join Mark Durrant in calling a BYU men's basketball game versus Jackson State from November of that year.


Jay was the recipient of numerous honors throughout his career as a broadcaster and sports information professional, and was inducted into both the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame and Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

His wife, Lauretta, passed away in April of 2012; he is survived by seven children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Jay Monsen's legacy transcends his many contributions to the broadcasting industry, even as his work helped lay the stepping-stones laid for what is now BYUtv and its burgeoning sports production unit.

His descriptions remain a permanent fixture in the emotional memory banks of Cougar fans around the world--fans who enjoyed many of the most exciting and iconic moments in BYU sports accompanied by his commentary.

His style was even and mellow, but punctuated with energy, while his preparation was always thorough and well-researched. He was respected by all who encountered him, and was particularly appreciated by aspiring broadcasters who found in Jay a helpful mentor.

I was one of those young wannabes, who, as a BYU student, approached Jay, hoping that he might be able to find a place for me, doing whatever might both assist him and help me get my feet wet as a broadcaster.

Jay put me to work as a "stringer" at BYU football and basketball games, filing short radio reports and score updates via telephone to stations and services around the country. He got me a press seat at concourse level at the Marriott Center, and a place in the press box at LaVell Edwards Stadium, all while I concurrently worked as many jobs as I could as a student broadcaster for the campus radio and TV stations.

In fact, the videographer for my very first televised sports feature, which aired on KBYU in the fall of 1984, was Jay's son Dave. I remember being somewhat in awe of the fact that I was working with Jay's son, and felt pressure as a 17-year old freshman counting on the assistance of an experienced broadcaster and member of the Monsen family. Dave was, of course, generous, kind and patient, and helped me put together a story that I was otherwise incapable of producing. Indeed, the Monsen family truly had a significant role in helping me achieve my professional dreams.

In later years, employed by KSL and learning the play-by-craft myself, I could always count on Jay for advice, encouragement, and graciously, after his retirement, welcome help on the headset when I required a pinch-hitter.

In Jay Monsen and Paul James, I had two of the best examples and tutors for which a young broadcaster could wish. Countless BYU fans are equally fortunate to have grown up with both of them. I am blessed to now do what they did; I can only hope to one day be as good as they were.


Photos: Courtesy BYU Photo



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