After three years as play-by-play voice for the New Orleans Saints Radio Network and their flagship WWL, Zach Strief is leaving the broadcast booth and returning to the field.
Strief recently announced he’s joining the Saints as their assistant offensive line coach. He played 12-years with the Saints, serving as a starter for more than half of his career and helping the team to a Super Bowl championship during the 2009 season.
In 2018, Strief took an unprecedented route, retiring from football and joining the Saints Radio Network as their play-by-play voice despite having no experience. The unlikely hire was tasked with replacing Jim Henderson, who’s voice became synonymous with the Saints after more than 30 years on their radio call. Now, the 37-year-old retired offensive lineman is set to take another job that he has no experience with: coaching.
“Up until five weeks ago, if you’d asked me if I’d ever make this change, I would have said ‘never,’” Strief told WWL radio according to NOLA.com. “It’s been an interesting few weeks getting to the realization.”
Not lost on Strief was how unusual his path to broadcasting was, landing a play-by-play job that other professional broadcasters spend decades trying to achieve.
“Announcing Saints games was every bit as exciting and challenging as I thought it would be,” Strief said in a press release. “So many people stuck their neck out to give me this chance, none more so than Diane Newman (WWL brand manager). My hope on the first day was that I would validate the faith that she placed in me. She trusted that I would learn the broadcasting business and grow in the profession.”
Entercom now begins their search to fill the void left by Strief and find the next radio play-by-play voice of the Saints. The company said they’re looking for someone who can provide professional play calls with personality and insight to the broadcast. But if Strief is any precedent, one requirement that might not be necessary is experience.