For somebody who has been telling sports stories for years, the story that kick-started it all for his career is even hard to believe.

We’ll let Rich Gould explain it. After all, that’s in the wheelhouse of a longtime television sports director.

“In 1978, Tom Mast (MSHOF 2021) was working non-stop for about three to four weeks in a row for KOLR 10,” Gould said, referring to the Springfield TV station. At the time, Gould was still in college. “I thought, ‘This guy needs a break. Randy Glover was the GM, and so I called him. I told him, ‘If I’m no good, I’ll leave and will never bother you again.”

Days later, after a makeshift tryout, the phone call came in. Mast was off on a two-week vacation, and the station needed someone to do sports. And so launched a 42-year career in sports broadcasting, and Gould was among the best at it – which is why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Gould with the Class of 2022.

Primarily, he became a household name in St. Louis, where Gould was the longest-running sports director in St. Louis TV history, as he handled sportscasts from August 1987 to October 2021.

Gould also worked play-by-play, color analysis and conducted interviews for St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts from 1997 to 2006, and National Hockey League play-by-play in 1988 and 1989 for the St. Louis Blues. Additionally, his career includes working the Braggin’ Rights game between the University of Missouri and University of Illinois basketball teams and handling play-by-play as well for University of Missouri and Saint Louis University Billikens basketball games.

And to think it all started with a dream, with KOLR 10 in Springfield taking him on. In the tryout, he had to re-write one of Mast’s scripts and ad-lib NBA scores.

“It’s a story I tell journalism kids. Sometimes you just have to knock on doors and be OK with failure,” Gould said. “It was a great memory.”

Gould’s parents had relocated their family from California to Branson when he was 14, and Gould eventually quarterbacked the Branson High School Pirates – he threw six touchdown passes in a game – and played baseball there before graduating in 1974.

Naturally, he owned a transistor radio and listened to some of the best broadcasters in the game: in California, it was the Dodgers’ Vin Scully and the Lakers’ Chick Hern, while in the Midwest it was the Cardinals’ Jack Buck (MSHOF Legend 2000) and Mike Shannon (MSHOF Legend 2013) and nationally NBC’s Curt Gowdy.

Initially, Gould worked as the sports editor of the Branson Beacon newspaper while attending Evangel University, and started doing sports radio for Branson and other area schools before graduating in 1979.

That’s when he got to know Ozarks sports directors Ned Reynolds (MSHOF Legend 2015) and Mast, with Gould calling in scores for Reynolds’ Action Sports Line.

After two years at KOLR 10, Gould was sports director of WGEM in Quincy, Ill., from 1980 to 1985, and then worked in Sacramento, Calif.

His decision to head West led him back to the Midwest, as Ted Koplar owned the Sacramento station as well as St. Louis’ KPLR.

“He liked what I was doing. He said he was going to go after St. Louis Cardinals baseball. That’s all I needed to hear,” Gould said. “In his mind, it was like being called up from Triple-A.”

His St. Louis career included: the Cardinals in the 1987, 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013 World Series – and all their other playoff games in that stretch – and the St. Louis Rams’ two Super Bowls. He also covered the 1992 PGA Championship (interviewed Arnold Palmer) and the Blues’ 2019 Stanley Cup season.

To understand his work ethic, consider his prep work for Blues broadcasts. Gould had never played hockey, but he asked his wife, Patty, to make him memorize names of Blues and opposing players, plus the rules and other nuances of the game.

Maybe they didn’t know it, Gould said, but the support from Patty and their daughters Katie, Jill and Kelly made his career even more of a success. He also appreciated co-workers at TV stations, including Fox 2 after KPLR merged in 2011, and all players and coaches who gave of their time.

“I am keenly aware of how lucky I was and the many wonderful people I met,” Gould said. “I always knew this is what I wanted to do. I had no aspirations to do anything else.”