BILLINGS - After more than three decades of covering Montana sports, KTVQ’s Scott Breen is about to embark upon a new adventure.
Breen will say farewell to viewers on Tuesday, July 19.
He may be leaving Q2, but Breen won’t be leaving the world of sports. He's beginning a new career as a Montana/Wyoming sales representative for Daktronics, a South Dakota-based company designing and building worldwide scoreboards, shot clocks, extensive audio/video systems, and other electronic messaging.
"The best part is I have more family time and I still get to work with all the friends and schools I have throughout my career, just in a different light," he said.
Born in Billings, Breen began his sportscasting career in the Magic City 31 years ago when he was hired as a weekend sports anchor and weekday news reporter at KULR-TV. After 13 years, he departed to become the sports director at KTVQ.
"I'll never be able to repay the debt to Jon Stepanek and Monty Wallis for inviting me to work Q2's Monday-Friday sports shift. My wife Erin and I were expecting our first child, and our daughter was born two weeks later. The timing and welcome couldn't have been more perfect.
"And multiply that exponentially for Chris Byers who put me on training wheels as an intern, then stuck with me for 13 years. He showed me how to bring energy and enthusiasm to a career that can drive competitive reporters in the business to misery. CB's patience was unbelievable. He's the guy you never wanted to let down and actually nudged me to Q2 when I started a family."
Breen has covered hundreds of high school and college events, professional sports from Mustangs baseball to indoor football, and countless rodeos during his 18 years at KTVQ. His work has earned multiple honors, including more than 30 awards for storytelling and sportscasting from the Montana Broadcasters Association.
However, it’s the relationships he’ll miss most.
"It would be truly impossible to name and thank all the coaches, AD's, athletes, parents and grandparents who've made time for me," Breen said. "Our priority was always to deliver your stories in memorable, meaningful ways that you couldn't find on regional or national networks.
"Rebounding from the pandemic has brought noticeable change to the business, but I rarely felt a bigger rush than when our sports team would blast out highlights of 10, 12 or 14 games on wild Friday and Saturday nights. Videos were rolling in left and right that I wouldn't actually see until they hit air. And trying to manage scores randomly funneling in while we were live, with the clock counting down to zero, knowing I'd be cut off whether I finished the sportscast or not? I wouldn't fall asleep until 1 or 2 a.m. if I was lucky."
Breen is also quick to appreciate three decades worth of colleagues.
"I feel like the word 'team' can be overused and cliche, but for me, it's never been more pinpoint than in local television. Until you see it, you don't believe it," he explained. "We'd have anchors covering for us live as we'd literally sprint onto the set, directors furiously punching buttons that would make your head spin, an engineer patching equipment and part-timers racing video highlights into the control room seconds before I'd call for them. If anyone hiccups, or one video rolls out of order, the whole sportscast could tip upside down. Any of those saviors could've been Athletes of the Week."
Breen says his greatest honor was recently becoming a member of the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame for his contributions in broadcasting. For nearly 30 years, he has localized statewide coverage from the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, sharing stories of Montana’s talented cowboys, cowgirls, and world champions.
One of his most memorable KTVQ stories will always be the recovery of Powell, Wyo., native and Melstone cowboy JR Vezain, who broke his back after being stomped on by a horse at a Texas rodeo four years ago. He has closely followed Vezain's remarkable journey from near paralyzation to walking with the help of robotics. Vezain's original feature told by Breen and Brandon Sullivan earned an Emmy nomination and a national Edward R. Murrow award, one of the most prestigious among television journalists.
"If you ever feel like you're having a bad day, watch JR's story. You'll cringe at his accident and cry over his determination. I do every time."
Breen and his family will continue to call Yellowstone County home where his parents and sister have playfully 'critiqued' him for years.
In fact, there’s still a chance you’ll see him on the sidelines cheering on his own children, Ella and Landon, as they continue their high school sports careers.
"To say it's been a privilege telling sports stories, for over 30 years in my hometown, is certainly understated."