Big Ten Network’s tour of conference campuses worked out well for Alex Roux. The BTN digital producer got to come home.
Roux, a Champaign Central and Illinois graduate, is in his third year at the network. Wednesday’s stop in Champaign gave Roux a chance to see his parents, grandparents and younger brother, who is a sophomore at Illinois.
“I hadn’t been back for an overnight stay since Christmas,” Roux said.
Because Roux is a townie, others at BTN asked him for restaurant suggestions in C-U.
“Getting Black Dog has been the tradition since I’ve been on the bus,” Roux said. The bus stopped on the way out of town Wednesday night.
Illinois was the 13th stop on the tour, which ended Thursday at Northwestern. What’s been the highlight?
“Stopping in Madison, Wis., this year,” he said. “We don’t generally get to stay there for a night. It was the first time in a long time that the tour didn’t head straight to Minnesota from Wisconsin. We got a night there, and it happened to be a really nice day. I got to run out to the lake, do a lap around the capital area. It was a perfect summer day.”
Another highlight: his grandpa Don Roux getting to take a brief ride on the bus.
“He tracked down Gerry DiNardo in the lobby of the I Hotel,” Roux said. “DiNardo invited him on the bus. Not everyone can say they got to ride the bus.”
Roux, a former News-Gazette intern, started his BTN career as a freelancer. Soon, he was hired full time.
His day-to-day duties include maintaining and building BTN’s social-media efforts. He interacts with announcers, the media and athletes. He is in charge of the network’s only full-time podcast and creates in-house content, and he helps decide what content to use from games.
Roux is a busy 25-year-old. Not that he is complaining.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Roux said. “A blast. I would say I am lucky to be where I am.”
On to my weekend recommendations:
“Man on Fire,” 7 p.m., Paramount
Ex-CIA agent John Creasy (Denzel Washington) becomes the bodyguard for the young daughter of a wealthy businessman. When the girl is kidnapped, Creasy becomes the title character.
College football: Florida vs. Miami, 6 p.m., ESPN
It’s Week 0 of the college football season with a handful of games. This is by far the best of the bunch. The Gators enter the season ranked No. 8 in The Associated Press Top 25 and Miami is among others receiving votes. Keep an eye on Miami’s No. 4, almost-Illini Jeff Thomas. He will start at receiver.
“Ballers,” 9:30 p.m., HBO
It’s the fifth-season debut for the series, which stars Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player turned financial manager. The show has been a hit with critics. Rob Corddry is one of the co-stars.