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CdM alums excited for gig

Virgen's View

December 23, 2011|By Steve Virgen

He did the play-by-play for Kobe Bryant's career-high 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006.

Away from the job, Billy Mac is known for his sense of humor and down-to-earth personality. Ireland is the same way, and that can be seen when he emcees the Lowsman Trophy banquet during Irrelevant Week.

Billy Mac won't shy away from cracking a joke. Yes, he said it was pretty cool that two CdM alums are working for the Lakers, but he had another description.

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"It's harmonic convergence," he said. "What are the odds?"

Ireland was also amazed of the odds, since CdM is a relatively small school.

Ireland, CdM Class of 1981, said he feels incredibly lucky to be working for the Lakers as the play-by-play announcer on 710 AM. He's also the host of the radio show, Mason & Ireland, on that radio station.

Ireland got his start in Monroe, La., working as a news reporter after graduating from UCLA. He also worked in Texas and San Diego before landing at KCAL in 1995. He worked as the Lakers' sideline reporter since the 2002-03 season. He had also called Clippers games.

"My main goal is to honor the chair," Ireland said of his new gig. "That is Chick Hearn's chair. I grew up listening to Chick …

"It's a very unique opportunity: for us to grow up in a small town and then to do this. I want to make sure to be over-prepared."

Ireland lives with his family in Manhattan Beach. Macdonald lives in Corona del Mar. He had two sons, Kirk and Cory, who attended CdM High. His son, Billy Jr., plays on the baseball team as a senior at CdM.

Every where Billy Mac goes, he receives congratulations and well wishes, he said.

"I don't think I really realized how big the job was," Macdonald said. "It's like everyone is a Laker fan. They've all been coming up to me to talk about the team and the job."

Ryan Schachter, the CdM boys' basketball coach, is excited that two CdM graduates are calling games for the Lakers.

"I know Billy Mac really well," Schachter said. "He's a great guy. Funny. I'm so happy for him. It's a great opportunity for him to do the Laker games."

Pretty cool.

steve.virgen@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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