Luis Perez was a standout football and baseball player at Amphi High School in the 1990’s before attending Arizona and earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and government in 2001.
Francisco Romero graduated from Pueblo High School in 1987 before earning a degree at Arizona in Global and Intercultural Understanding from the College of Letters Arts and Sciences. He completed a fellowship on Environmental Justice and Community Empowerment as a graduate student.
Perez and Romero today are two of the most influential Spanish-speaking sports broadcasters in the industry.
Perez, who started as a news reporter at KHRR Telemundo Tucson in 2001, just completed his 17th year as the Spanish Voice of the Dallas Cowboys. He has been involved with sports broadcasting since 2003, a year before making the transition to becoming sports director at KXTX Telemundo Dallas.
After graduating from Arizona, Romero was active with community affairs such as working with the Arizona-Mexico Border Health Foundation and the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality before making the career change to sports broadcasting in 1998.
His love for sports provided the impetus for the change. He became the head of the Department of Hispanic Marketing for the Tucson Sidewinders (former Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks). His duties included being the Spanish broadcaster for the baseball team. At the same time, KHRR Telemundo Tucson hired him as its sports director.
Romero has been the Spanish Voice of the Houston Astros for 12 years and he is completing two decades worth of being the Spanish broadcaster for Arizona’s football and men’s basketball teams. He also has a deep background of working with other MLB teams as well as Major League Soccer and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
Perez turned a sideline opportunity with Telemundo in Dallas to becoming the lead Spanish broadcaster of the team, which has long been the favorite NFL team of his dad, who still resides in Tucson with his mom on the city’s westside.
“I was born into a Cowboys household,” Perez told Spectrum News 1. “My father has been a fan since 1960 for the Dallas Cowboys so he was ecstatic when I told him that I was going to be working for the Cowboys.”
Being away from Tucson and his mom’s homemade tortillas spurred Luis to try to bring some of that flavor to Dallas. He started a tortilla factory there in 2014 called La Norteña Tortillas. The factory distributes corn, wheat, and flour tortillas to more than 20 restaurants here in Dallas.
“La Norteña” refers to the area of northern Mexico — Cananea, Sonora — where Perez was raised before his family moved to Tucson.
“Having grown up in Northern Mexico, in the State of Sonora, my love for flour tortillas developed as I witnessed my mother make them by hand one by one and into our table,” Perez said in a statement on his business’s Web site. “The taste of freshly homemade tortillas is second to none. Her recipe for tortillas de harina has been passed from generation to generation and at Tortilleria La Norteña we make them as they were meticulously made in Cananea, Sonora.”
Perez has also noted that he started the Tortilleria La Norteña because he could not find good quality flour tortillas in Dallas, like those made in Tucson, specifically by his mom.
“Essentially I took the recipe and I scaled it up to come up with a way to do bigger batches,” Perez explained to Spectrum News 1. “We had to do some tweaks. We had to incorporate some other ingredients to make it work at a high volume setting. It’s essentially what I grew up eating when I was at my house. And my mom would make tortillas and before she would be done making them they would all be gone. So essentially that’s what I incorporated into my business.
“If we can make a better taco with our tortillas, then let’s go on and make a better burrito. If we can make a burrito, then we can probably make better stuff. So little by little we want to improve our product to compliment the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Being the Cowboys’ Spanish broadcaster and owning a successful tortilla business has Perez grateful for his opportunities that started when he graduated from Amphi and progressed through an Arizona education.
“The chance to remain with the (Cowboys), it just tells you about the commitment that the Cowboys have the importance that the Spanish speaking fans have within the Cowboys,” he said.
Perez and Romero are inspirational figures to youths in Tucson, who might be in the same situation when they were raised on the city’s westside and southside. They are proud products of Tucson, Pueblo and Amphi high schools and the University of Arizona as immigrants from the Río Sonora.
“I have been blessed with a journey that has given me a path to a dream career,” Romero said. “But the biggest blessing in my life are my wife, kids, family and inspiring friends and colleagues, such as Luis, that with hard work, passion ad dedication get to accomplish their dreams”
Romero and Perez are among 41 former Arizona students and student-athletes are currently behind a mic describing the action and speaking their views on sports.
Here is a list of former Arizona students and student-athletes who are sports broadcasters:
ARIZONA STUDENTS/ATHLETES BEHIND THE MIC
- Scott Erickson, Pac-12 Network, Analyst
- Joe Magrane, MLB Network, Analyst
- J.T. Snow, Pac-12 Network, Analyst
*Also played basketball
- Tedy Bruschi, ESPN, NFL studio analyst
- *Kelvin Eafon, KCUB (1290-AM), Pregame and postgame analyst
- Glenn Howell, KCUB (1290-AM)/KVOA-TV, UA football analyst
- Lamont Lovett, KCUB (1290-AM), UA football commentator
- Glenn Parker, Fox Sports Arizona, Cardinals postgame analyst
MEN’S BASKETBALL (8)
**Also played baseball
- Sean Elliott, Spurs/Fox Sports, Analyst
- Channing Frye, Road Trippin’ Podcast, Podcast host
- Reggie Geary, KCUB (1290-AM), UA basketball analyst
- Richard Jefferson, ESPN/FS1/Pac-12 Networks/Road Trippin’ Podcast, NBA/College hoops analyst/Podcast host
- **Kenny Lofton, Fox Sports West, Dodgers commentator
- Matt Muehlebach, Pac-12 Networks, College basketball analyst
- Tom Tolbert, KNBR San Francisco, Talk show host
- Corey Williams, ESPN/Pac-12 Network/FS1, College basketball analyst
- Jenny Dalton-Hill, ESPN, Analyst
- Jennie Finch, ESPN, Analyst
- Kenzie Fowler, Pac-12 Networks, Analyst
- Leah O’Brien-Amico, ESPN, Analyst
- T. Statman, Running Poles Podcast, Podcast host
- Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, Pac-12 Network, Analyst
JOURNALISTS/UA STAFF (19)
- Brad Allis, Wildcat Sports Report Wildcast, Podcast host
- Saul Bookman, Fox Sports Arizona/Total BS Podcast, Podcast host
- Alex Flanagan, NBC/NFL Network, Sideline reporter/anchor
- Anthony Gimino, The Sports Guys, Podcast co-host
- Jeff Goodman, Stadium, College basketball analyst
- Jay Gonzales, Fox Sports (1450-AM), Sports talk show host
- Ryan Hansen, IMG Network, UA basketball commentator
- Dan Hicks, NBC, Olympics/golf broadcaster
- Rob Leaño, Locked On Coyotes Podcast, Podcast host
- Mike Luke, KCUB (1290-AM), Sports talk show co-host
- Jody Oehler, Phoenix Fox Sports radio, Sports talk show host
- Derrick Palmer, KTUC (1400-AM), UA women’s hoops broadcaster
- Luis Perez, Dallas Cowboys, Spanish broadcaster
- Steve Quis, ESPN, College basketball play-by-play
- Ryan Radtke, Westwood One Sports, NFL/college football and basketball play-by-play
- Francisco Romero, Houston Astros/Arizona, Spanish broadcaster
- Arnie Spanier, Fox Sports Radio, Sports talk show host
- Justin Spears, Wildcaster/Total BS Podcast/ESPN sports radio (1490-AM), Podcast/radio talk show host
- Todd Walsh, Fox Sports Arizona, Host/reporter
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.