Rise with the Rams: Meet SCGA Member Sam Lagana, Voice of the LA Rams
He came up with the slogan weeks prior, but on Aug. 13 he finally got to use it. “Rise With The Rams,” a part of the battle cry for the reinstated Los Angeles Rams, was announced by Sam Lagana over the public address system at the Coliseum as the Rams kicked off their 2016 season with a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Lagana, a 54-year-old SCGA member from Pacific Palisades who is also the vice chancellor at Pepperdine University, is now the voice of the Rams, hired as the team’s PA announcer this past July. A passionate golfer, 15.3 handicap and lifelong Southern Californian, we caught up with Lagana to discuss his new job, his love of golf and more.
We have to start by asking about the new gig. How did that come about?
I let some friends in the sports world know I may be interested, and got an email from broadcast services for the Rams asking me to record five or six lines. I actually just did it on my iPhone and sent it in. That happened mid-May, and in mid-July I got an email about being the stadium announcer for the Rams.
Had you done anything similar in the past?
Yeah, absolutely. I kind of started in high school. I got hurt playing, and the coach asked me if I’d step in and do that. Then I got hurt while playing volleyball in college for Loyola Marymount, and they allowed me to do the games there. I spent 20 years on the pro beach volleyball tour, doing some announcing and public relations. I’ve also done some college basketball, Arena Football, and announcing for Cal State Northridge.
What are you most excited about?
I just think it’s so cool how Los Angeles is about having the Rams back. And to be a part of the experience, and to be able to help cultivate an audience in a family friendly environment. I’m excited to help present that in an upbeat and enthusiastic way while still providing good information, supporting the sponsors, and fulfilling the needs and the goals of the LA Rams.
What was it like announcing that first preseason game?
Everybody was pumped. Our little announcing suite, boy it felt electric. Introducing and welcoming the Rams back to Los Angeles and saying, “Please welcome home your Los Angeles Rams” was unbelievable. The crowd was going nuts … people screaming. One of the thing we are doing is part of our battle cry, “Rise with the Rams.” The fellowship of Rams will be up on their feet at the beginning of the game and at halftime and after we score. It’ll provide for great moments.
Let’s talk golf. Are you a lifelong golfer?
I actually took up golf when I was in college. My mom was a member at Braemar CC, and she and her husband were couples champions there. I started playing with her as a way to spend some time with her. I’m self-taught. I played volleyball and basketball as a kid. A lot of tennis.
As my career started to matriculate, I started playing more golf. I’m in fundraising at Pepperdine now, and who knew that that was going to be so impactful later in my career? In my career at Pepperdine, I participate in and we stage many golf outings, supporting our university, our teams. I get to do that. I enjoy playing the game, and I enjoy spending four to six hours with friends.
Where do you play most of your golf?
I used to play at Malibu CC, but since they closed I go to a whole bunch of different places, play with a lot of friends. I have played Bel-Air, Santa Ana, Riviera. I go out to Angeles National and Robinson Ranch a lot. I love Bel-Air and Riviera because I really love the George Thomas-designed courses. I also help out with Friends of Golf tournament every year. I introduce the players on the 10th tee, right by the swinging bridge at Bel-Air CC. It’s special for me to volunteer with them. What FoG does means so much to the golf community, it’s an honor to introduce these men and women who want to help the game.
And Pepperdine is not a bad place to work when you have a passion for golf.
Our teams are wonderful! I love watching the young men and women on our teams, even just to watch them practice. They are the future of the game and they have such great etiquette. It’s exciting to watch their goodness in the game. It’s inspiring.