As BYU enters a new era as a member of the Big 12, the longtime “Voice of the Cougars,” Greg Wrubell, is getting a new broadcast partner this fall.

“I probably most remember the way he shook my hand. I felt like my hand was enveloped and crushed in this meathook of a hand. From the get-go, I realized I was dealing with a man of considerable proportions.” — Greg Wrubell on his first meeting with Hans Olsen

Former BYU lineman Hans Olsen, who played in the NFL and has been working in radio for the past 17 years. 

“I’m very excited to be working with Hans this season. I’ve been really blessed to have Marc Lyons and Riley Nelson as broadcast partners. I feel equally fortunate to go from them to Hans Olsen,” said Wrubell.

“Listeners are really going to enjoy his personality, his perspective, his love for the game, his enthusiasm. I really look forward to developing a chemistry and having our broadcasts develop a style, kind of organically, that will be a broadcast that has at its foundation Hans’ outgoing personality that’s really going to show up on the air.”

‘A well-earned reward’: The Voice of the Cougars offers his perspective on BYU’s imminent Big 12 membership

Wrubell started covering BYU football more than 30 years ago, in 1992, as a sideline reporter before becoming the voice of BYU football in 2001. He recalled his first interaction with Olsen. 

“I probably most remember the way he shook my hand. I felt like my hand was enveloped and crushed in this meathook of a hand. From the get-go, I realized I was dealing with a man of considerable proportions,” he said.

“His personality was as big as his dimensions. I certainly remember shaking hands with Hans for the first time and going, ‘Wow.’ I know it was during his playing days after a practice, doing a post-practice interview, I think. When he was playing, I was still the sideline reporter for Paul James. I would be at camp during the week and getting interviews after practice for use on game day.”

While Wrubell and Olsen haven’t worked together on a broadcast before, the chemistry and rapport between them will develop on the job. 

“We won’t have run-through games or trial runs or watch tape. We know each other. We’ve talked, we’ve met, we’ve been together,” Wrubell said. “We know enough about each other’s personalities and we know each other personally well enough to feel that will be something to go off of chemistry-wise. We’ll let the game flow and the operational part of things will evolve organically as we go.”

BYU Radio tabs Hans Olsen to join Greg Wrubell in broadcast booth for Cougar football games

Meanwhile, Wrubell has been the voice of BYU basketball since 1997. In 1998, former Cougars basketball player Mark Durrant became Wrubell’s color commentator, a position he’s held ever since. 

They might be the longest tenured college basketball broadcast duo in the country. 

“I’ve thought about researching that. Mark and I are going on our 27th season this year. That’s uninterrupted. That’s 27 straight seasons of working together,” Wrubell said.

“I don’t know where it stacks up nationally. I’m sure there have been crews to do it this long. But anytime you get up to 30 years together, it’s a pretty long run. And I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon. I just can’t imagine doing a game on a regular basis with anybody other than Mark Durrant right now. This will be my 28th season. Our 27th together doing BYU basketball, which is crazy to think about as well.”

This marks Wrubell’s 32nd season on the broadcast crew for BYU football — nine years of sidelines work and 22 years of play-by-play. 

Wrubell still loves his job after all of these years. 

“It’s true. I know I’m getting up there but I don’t feel old. I still feel young and enthusiastic,” he said. “I think the sports themselves and the job I have keeps me feeling young. I still have a lot of games left in me. It’s been a long, fun ride already. And if it ended tomorrow, I’d be grateful and feel blessed but I hope it goes for a while longer. Paul (James) did it for 35 years and I’m creeping up on 30. It’s a good, long run.”

And Wrubell appreciates the longevity he’s enjoyed at BYU.

“It’s true, too, that the trend nowadays, especially in the professional ranks, nobody stays with teams too long,” he said. “In college athletics, you tend to have broadcasters that can stay with their schools quite a while. I feel fortunate to be one of those guys right now.” 

Voice of the BYU Cougars basketball and football Greg Wrubell at his home in Cedar Hills, Utah on Friday, July 30, 2010. | Mike Terry, Deseret News