Covering the BYU fireside that turned into a frightening ordeal

It was a quiet Sunday evening in the newsroom of the Daily Universe on BYU’s campus. As the assistant sports editor, I was putting together the sports pages for Monday’s paper while other fellow editors were working on their own pages on Feb. 7, 1993. On the television screens, the BYU devotional, featuring President Howard […]

Lessons in Christ-like love from Ghana

One summer, I traveled to Ghana, in West Africa, for a work assignment. It was a life-changing experience. I was struck by the humility and spirituality of the people in general. Many Ghanaians live in abject poverty, but they are a happy, God-fearing people. One of the first things I noticed when I arrived was […]

The Utah Jazz you may not know (or remember)

The zenith of the Utah Jazz franchise occurred 20 years ago, when it played in the first of two consecutive NBA championship series against the Chicago Bulls during the summers of 1997 and 1998. As great as those moments were for the state of Utah and Jazz fans everywhere, I remember simpler, and tougher, times. […]

If I were in charge of college football: 7 ways to make it even better

If I could pick only one sport to watch for the rest of my life, it would be college football. I love the pageantry, tradition and history of the sport. It’s amazing to watch the thousands of passionate fans that paint their faces, create signs and scream for three hours. And that’s just those that […]

Proposed college football re-alignment: Creating a true National Champion

It’s time to get rid of the conferences and divide up teams according to geography. That way, rivalries that have been destroyed in recent years can be restored. In my better-than-reality remake of college football schedules, the division champions of the eight conferences create an eight-team playoff that sets up a “Final Four” and a […]

Changing the night to day: Learning from rejection as a young missionary

While I enjoyed my two-month experience at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, I couldn’t wait to arrive in Chile to begin teaching the gospel. Along one of my first legs of my series of flights, I sat next to a bearded, 20-something man and we struck up a conversation. Naturally, I started teaching him the […]

What a dog taught me about the atonement

When I was a teenager, I had a dog named Butch — a springer spaniel-black labrador mix. My friend gave me Butch for free, and you know what they say, you get what you pay for. Butch had a strange yet endearing personality. When we would come home from church, or anywhere else, he’d sprint […]

A sports lover’s guide: How to make the most of general conference

Growing up, I found it vexing that LDS general conference coincided with some of the best times of the sports year — April and October. I’ve always been a man for all seasons — basketball, baseball and football. In April, there’s the start of the Major League Baseball season and the NCAA basketball tournament Final […]

Basketball Americana: A poetic ode to March Madness

Rugged, street-wise boys jostle and juke On an urban playground. The rubber sphere pounds rhythmically On the sun-baked asphalt And whips around the perimeter, then bouncing, bouncing, Fired airborne Spinning off the wooden backboard, it curls around And through a creaky, rusty rim Chinking the dangling metal chain. Dusk falls gently upon the frenetic scene, […]

A budding piece of wisdom: Buy your wife flowers for Valentine’s Day

There are a multitude of things I don’t understand when it comes to dating, romance and relationships between men and women, husbands and wives. But one of the things on the top of the list would have to be my lack of understanding regarding flowers. Don’t even get me started on the different colors of […]

Where does Utah rank in states with unpredictable weather?

Having grown up in Utah, I can vouch for the strange, unpredictable weather that happens here. At couple of times in my lifetime, it has snowed in May and June. I remember a huge snowstorm in 1984 — in the middle of October — that blanketed Salt Lake and Davis Counties with two feet of […]

An imaginary interview with Norman Rockwell at BYU

The following is a humorous fictional interview with artist Norman Rockwell. Rockwell’s work will be on display, “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell​,” at the BYU Museum of Art from Nov. 20 until Feb. 13, 2016. A couple of days ago, I was wandering around BYU’s campus, enjoying an unseasonably warm fall afternoon. There was plenty going […]

Choosing to write: You never know the difference you will make

When people think about authors, perhaps the first names that pop into their heads are John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss. They conjure up images of swanky parties, massive bank accounts, national television appearances, limousine rides, a third home in Tahiti, heli-skiing in the Alps, and book signings […]

The most famous Primary song in the world

Years ago, I had the good fortune of interviewing Naomi Randall. Who is Naomi Randall? You may not know her name, but you certainly know some of her work. One day in 1957, Naomi Randall received a particular church assignment she would never forget. And one that would, and continues to, bless the lives of […]

9/11: Of twins, Twin Towers, faith, family and freedom

None of us will ever forget Sept. 11, 2001, a day that reminded us how fragile, dangerous and volatile life can be. We all have our own 9/11 stories. It was one of those days when you can remember exactly where you were when you heard the horrific news. Every time 9/11 rolls around, it’s […]

Utah Valley Magazine named best magazine in Utah; UV360 earns 8 awards from SPJ

Utah Valley Magazine was named the best magazine in the state for 2014 by the Utah chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at last night’s banquet. Bennett Communications, which publishes Utah Valley Magazine, also claimed second place in the best magazine category with Utah Valley BusinessQ. In total, Bennett Communications earned 14 awards at the annual event. “I […]

Ainge, then Fredette, now Haws

After BYU star Danny Ainge became the school’s all-time leading scorer in 1981, it took 30 years for someone to surpass him on the scoring list. That someone was Jimmer Fredette. So it’s quite remarkable that just four years after Fredette left his mark in Provo, Tyler Haws is poised to supplant the incomparable Jimmer […]

Confluence of BYU basketball’s present and future in Las Vegas

Last Thursday night, while covering the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Cougar assistant coaches Mark Pope and Terry Nashif were sitting courtside, next to me, scouting the Portland-Loyola Marymount game. Because it was a first-round game, not a lot of reporters were there, so Pope and Nashif sat in the […]

Mika talks about his mission call, friends and mentors

In what’s been an eventful freshman season, BYU forward Eric Mika has plenty to look forward to in the coming days, weeks and years. While he’s finishing up his first season with the Cougars, hoping his team plays deep into March, he’s eagerly awaiting his LDS mission call. “I’m really excited,” Mika said. “I’ve been […]

Playmakers and headliners of 2013

With the exception of the Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27, another BYU football season is in the books.Here’s a recap of the Cougars’ 2013 campaign so far… Best Individual Performance Quarterback Taysom Hill completed 29 of 44 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns in the Cougars’ win over then-undefeated Houston. He also ran […]

BYU personalities get air time

It’s a BYU phenomenon that’s easy to overlook. There may not be a university in the country that produces as many sportscasters as BYU. Everyone knows BYU for its assembly line of great quarterbacks, the honor code, and Jimmer Fredette. But the Cougars are prolific when it comes to producing those who talk sports for […]

My BYU football all-interview team (part 1)

The first of a two-part series on Jeff Call’s all-interview team. Those of us who cover BYU football are always looking for players who make our jobs easier. You know, the ones who basically write our stories for us. They’re our go-to guys. We’re looking for players with the “Q” factor. They’re quotable. But they […]

The Bronco way

In the fall of 2001, all I really knew about Bronco Mendenhall was what I had read in his online bio: he grew up in Alpine, played at American Fork High, then at Snow College and Oregon State. Back in 2001, he was the defensive coordinator at New Mexico. One of his good friends, Gary […]

BYU forgetting how to pass is …

So I was sitting in the press box late Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium, watching BYU lose to Utah, and wondering how it had come to this. Ute quarterback Travis Wilson completed 24-of-34 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns. He was cool, calm, collected. He made plays. He threaded the needle. He avoided […]

Reveling in the rivalry

  By Jeff Call Not surprisingly, BYU and Utah don’t agree on much — even the date when their celebrated football series started. In the beginning, on April 6, 1896, they played a game vaguely similar to what we now know as football. The University of Utah defeated Brigham Young Academy 12–4 in Salt Lake […]

Does BYU belong with the Big Boys of college football?

By Jeff Call For decades, BYU football has suffered from an inferiority complex of sorts. That’s what happens when you do basically nothing for the first 50 years of your existence, from 1922-72. Then, you suddenly flourish in a desert thanks to a previously unknown coach, LaVell Edwards, who becomes a legend. Your high-flying passing […]

Now playing: BYU football

As the 2013 BYU football season rapidly approaches, here are some movies that may be coming to a theater, or a Redbox, near you… THE AVENGERS — After three consecutive losses to arch-rival Utah, BYU looks to avenge those painful setbacks this fall at LaVell Edwards Stadium. If the Cougars can’t beat the Utes in […]

20 years of covering BYU football

It seems almost laughable now, looking back. But it is nonetheless true. When I started covering the BYU football team as a student reporter in 1993, representing the venerable Daily Universe, I would on occasion call legendary coach LaVell Edwards at his home in Provo to ask him what I deemed to be very important […]