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Wil Hampton

Former Sports Broadcaster Wil Hampton Reflects on Colorful Career

Heeding the Call to Florida

Former Sports Broadcaster Wil Hampton Reflects on Colorful Career

Photography Provided

Wil Hampton has always loved journalism, sports, and telling stories.

It’s something the former WISH-TV Channel 8 sports broadcaster never gets tired of.

“I have always loved the opportunity to tell someone’s story,” Hampton says. “I loved game day, whether it was a youth baseball game, high school sports, the Colts or the Indy 500. There’s nothing quite like the rush of covering an event, meeting deadlines and telling a great story.”

Wil HamptonOriginally from Muncie, Hampton is the son of John and Rachael Hampton. He went to Burris High School and the University of Mississippi, aka Ole Miss, where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Hampton knew a career in journalism would allow him to interview a wide variety of interesting people.

“I really enjoyed meeting the people who worked so hard to reach a goal and helping them showcase their accomplishments on the (WISH-TV) sportscast that night,” Hampton says. “I especially loved the community aspect of high school sports; small towns, big cities coming together to support the local kids who play the games we love.”

Hampton has a lot of favorite TV memories.

“It’s tough to name just a couple,” he says. “There are so many with the Colts, Pacers, NBA Finals, college sports, World Series coverage, Indy 500s, etc., but I will point out two.

“When Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 in 1998, after 20 years of coming so close, the 3-car finally won,” he says. “Dale joined me live on my sportscast from Daytona. I remember him walking up while I was on the air live giving me a big hug around the neck and saying, ‘Can you believe this Wil? We just won the Daytona 500.’ Pretty cool.”

Hampton’s other favorite memory involves his former co-worker, sports broadcaster Mark Patrick.

“Some people remember Mark Patrick used to call me the mayor of Muncie when he tossed it to me in the field. Well, one time I had arranged for the current and several former Mayors of Muncie, including my dad, to join me live at the Muncie basketball sectional. When Mark threw it to me, I said; ‘Mark, while I appreciate the distinction, these are the true mayors of Muncie.’ I think Dad enjoyed that.”

Hampton says his grandfather also served as a mayor of Muncie.

Like his grandfather, Hampton has also had an interest in local politics, and has served as a Noblesville city councilman,

“I started serving January 1, 2016, after winning a tough race in 2015,” Hampton says. “I was re-elected in 2019, and will serve until July 30, 2021, when we move to Florida. I served as president in 2020.”

Hampton thoroughly enjoyed his time as a city councilman.

“I just enjoyed being involved in Noblesville’s growth,” Hampton says. “A lot is happening. Bringing the Levinson to downtown with a look that fits our history was a big deal.”

Hampton noted that he really likes the one-on-one connections with neighbors he has met over the years.

“I remember one resident who called me out to his house to show me a tree that was being threatened by a new development,” Hampton says. “The tree was just outside the buffer and in danger of being cut down by the new housing project, but I worked with the developer to save the tree. A small thing, but I learned that it’s the seemingly small things that are important. I’ve always felt you should try to help when and where you can.”

Hampton is stepping down from his job as a city councilman to start a new job in Florida.

 “I am the associate director of athletics at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida,” he says. “The campus is about 25 miles directly east of Naples. Ave is an authentic Catholic university of about 1,200 students, where about 600 of them are athletes. “

Hampton noted that it’s an opportunity to return to the world of sports but be in a position to help young men and women reach their dreams and goals.

“I will be lead administrator for football, men’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis and swimming,” he says. “I will also help with fundraising and sponsorship sales. No question, my faith is what pointed me in this direction. In our world today, we need more faith-centered young people who will grow into the leaders of tomorrow.”

Wil Hampton

Hampton says he wasn’t looking to make this move.

“It just sort of happened,” he says. “I truly believe the Holy Spirit was involved. Now my wife, Becky, has accepted a job as director of religious education at Ave Maria Parish. She has been the coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Grace in Noblesville for 13 years, and this new job is an opportunity to expand her reach in an awesome Catholic community. We are excited to work side by side for both the university and the town of Ave Maria.”

When Hampton isn’t working, he loves spending time with his family.

“Becky and I have three adult children,” he says. “Two of them twins Will and Maggie are going to Ave Maria with us. Will, who played football at Noblesville, is transferring from Ball State, and will continue his degree in Education while playing football for the Gyrenes. Maggie, who has played D1 Softball at Detroit Mercy the last three years, will transfer to Ave Maria and play softball while continuing her study in Biology. “

Hampton’s oldest son, John, is staying in Indiana.

“He recently began a new career in business development with Gaylor Electric,” Hampton says. “While I wish John was coming with us, I am so proud of him as he spreads his wings with a great Noblesville- based company.”

Hampton added that the most difficult thing about the move to Florida is leaving family members and friends.

“My mom is in Muncie and doing great, but I will miss seeing her on a consistent basis, and taking her to mass when I could,” he says. “I have two brothers and two sisters in Indiana, and several other family members who I’ll miss, along with so many great friends. We have poured everything we have into making this our home and it’s tough – almost impossible – to leave.  I also truly believe, however, that we are on a mission to go make a difference in Ave Maria. My feet may be in the sunshine state, but I’ll always be a Hoosier. Thank you to everyone who has made this journey possible. “

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