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August 25, 2013

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By Andrea

Syracuse, N.Y. – The aeroplane accustomed the Syracuse University basketball players, coaches and agents had aloof taken off from Hancock International Airport en avenue to the 2003 Final Four in New Orleans.

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Just a few account afterwards takeoff, though, the even lurched advanced and went into a dive.

The even collapsed out and connected to New Orleans afterwards any added incidents, but it larboard cartage shaken.

Paulie Scibilia, the architect on Syracuse’s radio advertisement team, was above shaken.

After the Final Four — the Orange captured its aboriginal NCAA men’s championship with a win over Kansas — Scibilia banned to get on the team’s acknowledgment flight to Syracuse. He busy a car; absolutely a mini-van because that’s all the rental car aggregation had available, and collection from New Orleans aback home to Syracuse.

“That was it,’’ Scibilia said. “I haven’t been on a even since.’’


On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Scibilia endless an brief bag and radio accessories — two Internet Protocol (IP) units, a bond lath and a buzz bandage that will serve as a advancement in case the internet access drops during the advertisement of the abutting night’s Syracuse bold at Notre Dame.

Scibilia slams the block of his rental car, a Kia Optima, and sets off for South Bend, Ind. The GPS indicates a 590-mile cruise that will booty 8 hours and 49 minutes. Of course, that doesn’t accommodate stops for food, gas and bath breaks. It’s 8 a.m.

“I don’t apperceive why I accept this abhorrence of flying,’’ Scibilia said. “There were added bad flights. We had a flight to Michigan Accompaniment in 2003 area the acclimate was so bad they absent the even to Grand Rapids.

“I accept anxiety,’’ he continued. “I was diagnosed with OCD aback I was 17. I’ve dealt with that but, for some reason, I can’t agitate the abhorrence of flying.’’

Scibilia, 47, started alive as the architect on the IMG Learfield radio broadcasts of Syracuse football and basketball amateur in 1999.

In those days, he flew with the teams to their abroad games. He flew to Alaska for the 2000 Great Alaska Shootout.

One year afterwards the alarm on the aggregation flight to the Final Four, Syracuse entered the 2004 NCAA clash as a No. 6 berry with a first-round bold adjoin Brigham Young. In Denver.

Scibilia collection all the way to Denver and formed Syracuse’s amateur adjoin BYU and Maryland.

“After they won the aboriginal two games, the abutting annular was in Phoenix,’’ Scibilia said. “No one capital to fly home and afresh fly back, so I collection Matt Park to Phoenix, alone him off, and afresh I collection to San Diego to see ancestors for a brace canicule and afresh collection aback to Phoenix.’’

When Syracuse absent to Alabama in the Sweet 16, Scibilia arranged up and drove, by himself, aback to Syracuse.

“That had to be the longest I’ve anytime driven,’’ he said.

That’s a able account because Scibilia has apprenticed bags aloft bags of afar over the accomplished 17 years.

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In 2016, Syracuse opened the NCAA clash with a first-round bold adjoin Dayton in St. Louis. Scibilia busy a car for a week, figuring, as did best SU fans, that the Orange wasn’t acceptable to get accomplished its acceptable second-round antagonism with Michigan State.

Of course, Middle Tennessee Accompaniment abashed Michigan Accompaniment in the aboriginal annular and Syracuse, which had baffled Dayton, afresh calmly accomplished Middle Tennessee to beforehand to the Sweet 16 in Chicago.

“I bethink calling the rental aggregation and saying, ‘Yeah, I’m activity to charge it addition week’,’’ Scibilia said. “And afresh I alleged afresh a anniversary after and said, ‘Yeah, I’m activity to charge it addition week.’’’

Just as the rental car aggregation came through, so did Syracuse’s accessories administrator Dan Shworles, who provided Scibilia with a brace of gym shorts to abrasion as he fabricated an emergency run to a laundromat.

During Syracuse’s doubtful Final Four run, Scibilia anguish up active from Syracuse to St. Louis to Chicago to Houston and afresh aback to Syracuse.


Scibilia was built-in in Syracuse but grew up in San Diego. He is the youngest of eight children. He was entering his green year of aerial academy aback his parents divorced. He confused aback to Syracuse with his mother and accelerating from Westhill Aerial School.

“I was a radio nerd,’’ Scibilia said. “My dad says actual few bodies adjudge what they appetite to do at 7 years old, but I did. I was the kid who alleged the radio base and requested songs.’’

When he was active in San Diego, he would ask his parents for the keys to the car so he could tune in the AM stations from Los Angeles.

When he confused to Syracuse, he would affected an affliction during academy so he could go to the nurse’s appointment and accept to Syracuse’s amateur in the Big East Clash on his Walkman.

Scibilia got his aboriginal paid job in radio as the ambassador on 95X’s “The Fat Man Show.” He confused to a few altered jobs in the Syracuse bazaar until actuality assassin as the architect for the SU radio broadcasts in 1999. He’s now the operations administrator for sports business at Galaxy Media, allowance to run stations in both Syracuse and Utica.

In 2013, Galaxy CEO Ed Levine absolutely rode with Scibilia on a cruise to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 in Washington D.C.

“That was nerve-wracking,’’ Scibilia said with a laugh. “Actually, I’m absolutely advantageous that bodies assignment with me on this. Ed’s been absolutely acceptable about it. If my bang-up anytime said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to fly,’ I anticipate I could do it. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s adamantine to anticipate about trying.’’

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Burger King is one of Paulie Scibilia’s added accepted stops for a chaw to eat.

During his boring hours spent abaft the wheel, Scibilia can handle some assignment responsibilities.

He makes buzz calls and, acknowledgment to hands-free technology, he can acknowledgment argument letters from co-workers and on-air talent.

“The alley trips accord me a adventitious to accept to my base and see who’s blame up,’’ Scibilia said. “Sometimes not alert is easier on my well-being.’’

When Scibilia isn’t alert to a Galaxy station, he uploads his admired podcast. “The True Crime Garage.”

He’s additionally a huge fan of 80s music. He hosts a appearance on SUNNY 102 that affectedness on Saturdays at 8 p.m. alleged Total Eclipse of the 80s. He has a all-inclusive accession of 80s music that he listens to during his continued trips. His playlist includes Tears For Fears, Pet Shop Boys, Billy Idol and more.

But his admired bandage is Oingo Boingo. He has two tattoos featuring the band’s anthology art.

Oingo Boing bankrupt up in 1995, but the band’s singer-song writer, Danny Elfman, is activity to comedy at this year’s Coachella in Indio, Calif., this April.

“My abhorrence of aerial is activity to be tested,’’ he said.

Scibilia starts his cruise with a average cold-brew coffee with two Sweet’N Lows from Dunkin Donuts. It’s his alcohol of choice. He generally buys two in one stop.

“I accumulate Dunkin Donuts in business,’’ he said.

He prefers biking centers like the Aerial J or T/A over artery blow stops. “The bathrooms are cleaner and you can grab a alcohol or article to eat.’’

He’s a close accepter that a Diet Coke from a soda bubbler tastes far bigger than one in a bottle.

For food, he brand to grab and go, usually endlessly at McDonald’s or Burger King. He will go out of his way for a Chik-Fil-A.

“Just aural the accomplished year I apparent Bojangles,’’ he said. “The alone botheration is you accept to stop and eat, which I don’t like to do.’’


In his about 20 years on the highways and byways to places like Clemson and Providence and Louisville and Morgantown, Scibilia had been complex in aloof one above accident.

He was abiding from a Syracuse basketball bold in Storrs, Conn., and had aloof beyond over the Hudson River aback he aback comatose into something.

A car abounding of teenagers had been anchored the ancillary of I-90 and afresh pulled aback assimilate the artery afterwards axis on their lights.

“I had no abstraction what I had hit,’’ Scibilia said. “I comatose appropriate into them. I beatific them into the guard-rail. I was alongside in the road.’’

Everyone complex in the blow was alright, although Scibilia’s appropriate arm was aching and bloated from the airbag’s impact.

There accept been a few added alarming moments. A tractor-trailer already blew a tire, sending a huge block of elastic into the windshield of Scibilia’s car.

“That’ll deathwatch you up,’’ he said.

A deer already leaped bright over the awning of his car. He’s been belted by close fog in Hazleton, Pa., added than already and as afresh as the cruise aback from Virginia Tech on Jan. 18.

Late one night on a artery in North Carolina, Scibilia swears he saw a woman blame a babyish adventurer forth the ancillary of the road. He alleged the accompaniment badge to address her.

“I never got a alarm back,’’ he said. “I kept cat-and-mouse for a alarm adage a woman was dead there 50 years ago.’’


Despite all of his time spent on the road, Scibilia has never chock-full at some of the best-known landmarks.

He’s never eaten at Bingham’s Restaurant, a Northeast Pennsylvania academy acclaimed for its pies. He doesn’t stop at Clark’s Summit abreast Scranton, either.

He’s never eaten at a Waffle House. Or a Bob Evans. Or a Cracker Barrel.

But, oh, the places he has been.

He has chock-full to see Ronald Reagan’s birthplace in Tampico, Ill. He has ailing into the bound gym at Milan (Ind.) Aerial School, which was featured in the cine Hoosiers. He’s been to the Boston aquarium, Monticello in Charlottesville, Va.; the Louisville Slugger museum, and the Arch in St. Louis. In amid back-to-back alley amateur at Duke and Virginia in 2016, he toured Civil War sites, including Appomattox.

Years ago, he came beyond an alone video arcade in Blacksburg, S.C.

“It looks like a castle,’’ he said. “I had to get out and airing around. It was eerie. It’s the creepiest abode I’ve anytime seen.”


On Jan. 22, Syracuse exhausted Notre Dame 84-82 at the Joyce Center in South Bend. The abutting morning Scibilia got into the Kia Optima at 6 a.m. The drive aback to Syracuse would echo the 590-mile, almost nine-hour trip.

Later this season, he will drive to Syracuse’s abroad amateur at Florida State, Louisville, Boston College and Pittsburgh. He will skip the regular-season afterpiece at Miami and be accessible for the ACC clash in Greensboro, N.C.

He has approved to fly to abroad amateur on a brace of occasions. One time the football aggregation was headed to a basin game. Scibilia was in bandage with the blow of the group, but at the aftermost minute, he stepped out of bandage instead of dispatch assimilate the plane.

“At atomic already every alley trip, addition says to me, ‘Just get on the plane,’’’ he said. “If it were alone that easy.’’

Mike Waters is a anchorman for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. Got a animadversion or abstraction for a story? He can be accomplished via email at [email protected]

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