Longtime Ch. 7 sports producer, fan ‘covered it all’
When rooting for the University of Detroit Mercy basketball team or working as a TV sports producer, Reggie Hall often found many friends — a testament to the warm-hearted city native’s lasting impact on others.
“He’s the type of person who walks into a room and lights it up — very outgoing, gregarious,” longtime friend Mark Challen said. “He was just a great guy to be around. He had this magical quality about him.”
Mr. Hall died Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. He was 58.
The sports enthusiast long was a force in Metro Detroit media.
During more than 25 years at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), he covered numerous high-profile events: Stanley Cup championships, the World Series, Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, NBA Finals, colleagues said. “He covered it all,” said Brad Galli, a sports anchor at the station.
Mr. Hall also helped shape other journalists while heading the sports department’s internship program for many years, friends and associates said. “He was the ultimate team player,” said Galli, a former intern. “He taught so many people in this town who ultimately went on to do bigger things that it was always about the team and about everybody around you and to never make it about you. ... He led from behind the scenes and he did it really well.”
Despite a packed schedule, the University of Detroit graduate found time to cheer on his alma mater’s Titans. He frequently attended basketball games in team gear, shouting trademark lines such as “Make those turnovers hurt!” and “Take that ball to the hoop!” said Michael Hamann, who launched a fan website and joined him on the athletic club’s board of directors.
Known as “Titan Reggie,” Mr. Hall showed unwavering support and received the prestigious John Conti Letterman of Distinction Award, which honors outstanding former athletes there, in 2013.
“His smile and infectious personality made everyone — friend or foe — feel welcome at Calihan Hall,” read a statement last week.
He would even travel out of state, most recently to Pittsburgh and Nashville, to show his spirit, Hamann said. “He certainly was the No. 1 fan of Titan basketball. If work didn’t interfere, he was at every single game. I don’t know that he missed more than a couple in the last 15, 20 years.”
To honor Mr. Hall, players are expected to have “TR” emblazoned on their jerseys through the rest of the season, school officials wrote on Twitter.
“He is the original superfan,” Challen said.
Born Dec. 4, 1957, in Detroit, Mr. Hall graduated from the city’s Chadsey High School.
While at what was then the University of Detroit, he earned three varsity letters with the baseball team, relatives and school officials said.
Graduating with a communications degree in 1979, he went on to work at WJBK-TV.
Throughout his career at Channel 7, Mr. Hall gained a wide network of friends across the country. A colleague once asked why he hadn’t gone national; the producer responded that he had the opportunity “but never felt the urge or the need or want to do it because everybody in the nation knew Reggie,” Galli said.
Naturally, his interests off the clock also centered around athletics — so much so, he usually had two TVs side-by-side at home to show games simultaneously, Challen said. “He was a sports junkie. I don’t know if there were any sports that he wasn’t interested in. He liked them all. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He would remember games, players, plays across the years.”
Other interests also captured Mr. Hall’s attention. “He had a very wide and eclectic taste in music,” said Matt Lee, a friend for more than 30 years. “He loved it all. ... He loved going to shows and especially at Detroit venues.”
Mirroring the commitment to his lifelong passions, Mr. Hall never moved away from the city where he grew up, Lee said. “He was really Detroit to the bone.”
Survivors include his father, Alonzo Hall, and two brothers, Richard and Phillip. His mother, Mattie Hall, preceded him in death.
A tribute is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Friday in the UDM Calihan Hall, 4001 W. McNichols, Detroit. Supporters have also launched a GoFundMe account to create a scholarship and/or award at the school.