Junior sport management major Ben Murtha has a baby. He’s nurtured it and watched it grow from conception to infancy. Now in year two, it’s anything but terrible.

The baby’s name: “Wings Up: The Ray Monica Show.”

“This show came about last year before the start of the football season, when my co-producer Lake Staub had the idea of interviewing Coach Monica every week so the community could get to know him,” Murtha said. Monica took over the Clarion Golden Eagles football program as head coach last season.

“We are always looking for ways to spread excitement and interest around the program. Following Coach Monica’s agreement to do the show weekly during the season, we began filming wherever we could,” said Murtha, who works with the football program as a student assistant, defensive analyst and co-director of football operations with former Golden Eagles football player and current graduate assistant Jimmy Gunning. 

“We started in (Coach Monica’s) office with an iPhone, then found a couch in Tippin, and then got a backdrop with an eagle we found in Tippin,” he said of his and Staub’s work. “We tried every week to just make the show a little better.”

By mid-season last year, Murtha and Staub had acquired use of an “amazing camera and a beautiful studio,” thanks to the support of sports media administrator Sean Fagan and assistant, Ben Jewart.

They continue to develop the show’s content, too.

“Every week, Lake and I sit down and brainstorm a lot of ideas about what to ask Coach. Some questions are about the game, some are about the team environment, some are about the other sports on campus,” Murtha said.

Their questions about other sports are at the urging of Monica, who likes to promote all Clarion sports programs, not just football.

“We end up narrowing the list down to four to six questions, and then we fire away,” Murtha said. He conducts the interview, while Staub – who also does a “Talking Hoops” interview show with the basketball program – works behind the scenes.

The pair produce “The Ray Monica Show” once a week during the football season.

“We film on Wednesdays, and the episode airs on Thursday,” Murtha said. This week’s schedule is a little different due to the game being played today rather than Saturday. Viewers can catch the show on the Clarion Athletics website, Clarion Athletics Instagram, twitter or YouTube pages, or on the YDL Sports Networks YouTube page.

A native of Clarion, Murtha is pursuing a career in football operations, preferably with a Division 1 college program or with an NFL organization.