By: Noah Nelson 5/26/2023
“If you told me last year that I would be the [La Crosse] Logger’s broadcaster, at first I’d say it’s a joke,” Cooper Lipski said, somewhat sheepishly. But anybody who’s met Cooper knows that the position is perfect for him. A born entertainer, Lipski’s often-rambunctious antics have allowed the Winona State senior to work his way up in broadcasting, and he will be taking the booth for the first time as the Logger’s official broadcaster at their first home game on May 30.
Lipski has deep ties to sports, competing in high school basketball and baseball. As a basketball player, he never made a strong impact on the floor, but Lipski was the life of the bench. He would announce games for his fellow end-of-the-bench riders and breathe life into JV high school basketball. He even had a color commentator, crediting Tyler ‘Zayo’ Christianson with providing insights into the games.
Cooper’s connections to the Loggers reach far into his childhood. Lipski, a ‘local guy from Westby’, recounts his earliest memories with Loggers baseball, going with his ‘old man’ for his birthday. He continued to attend games throughout his life, “Going to games with [my friends] [Noah] Benish, Conor [Vatland], Gavin [Bergdahl] as we’ve gotten older it’s gotten more fun, being able to legally drink.” Trading the bottle for the microphone, Lipski will still be able to enjoy the games himself while providing the joy of sports to others.
The ‘voice of Winona State athletics’ began his broadcasting journey by taking the right class as a freshman. “I was in an introduction class, and I asked, ‘how do you become a sports announcer’ and he said, ‘you’re in the right introduction class Coop.’” Lipski’s professor, Doug Westerman, has a storied history as a broadcaster, travelling for years and working with numerous communications organizations.
Westerman has provided insights to Lipski, acting as his broadcasting ‘coach’ and given him connections to other high-ranking broadcasters in the area. He recounts a story before a Winona State football game where Westerman was on the phone with Badgers broadcaster Matt Lepay, “I say, ‘tell Matt I said hi’ and I hear Matt Lepay say, ‘Hey Coop, good luck on the broadcast today!’” Westerman’s connections and dedication to his students has had a strong influence on Lipski’s professional development, providing him with opportunities and advice on how to improve as a broadcaster.
Though he did have the experience at Winona State, the Loggers opportunity spawned from an off-handed comment Lipski made to a fellow Winona State sports media personality who had previously worked for the team. Cooper recounts the conversation, “So I’m like ‘ha-ha, yeah you can get me a job that would be kind of fun’ and he goes ‘no, seriously there might be an opening.’”
A few months later, the friend, Tyler Gliem, brought it up again, suggesting Cooper send a resume and application letter. “I didn’t have a resume – my [resume] would be, you know, rock picking, coaching little league baseball, stuff like that.” What he lacked in his resume, he made up for with his past broadcasting experiences.
He sent them a “big, long list” with all his relevant experience, highlighting work with Leighton Broadcasting, and KQAL [Winona State University’s radio station]. There was nothing to do now but wait for a response. A week passed; nothing. Another week passed by; still nothing. On the third week, just before Christmas, Lipski heard back from his Loggers connection expressing mutual interest, hearing, “We are definitely considering you… you’re one of two guys we’re looking at.”
Considerations continued with the help of Gliem’s good word, endorsing Cooper to Loggers General Manager Ben Kapanke. Eventually, the two met and, “Apparently the interview went well enough that I got the job.” He remains humble, yet it is obvious that he has the talent and experience to succeed as the Loggers broadcaster.
The new position has not yet fully settled in for Lipski; he stated, “It feels surreal in a way. I don’t think it will set in until I’m there on Tuesday with the headset on going ‘Welcome to Copeland Park, Home of the Loggers.’” He’ll be in the booth for webcasted home games and on the radio with team for away games. Games will be streamed on NorthwoodsLeague.com and there will be numerous games on ESPN+, renewing their contract from the previous year.
The La Crosse Loggers new voice is ready to enter the booth and make an impact. Cooper Lipski will begin his journey as a semi-professional baseball announcer at the May 30 home opener, and he could not be more excited, exclaiming, “I love the Loggers, what can I say – Roll Logs!” The Loggers start ‘rolling’ on May 29, beginning their 72-game summer season on the road against the Eau Claire Express.