Will Tieman and Wendy Hart, who own Grand Haven radio stations WGHN (92.1 FM and 1370 AM) and WMPA (93.1 FM), met at a job interview in Chicago in 1985.
Little did they know that they’d be a Hall of Fame-worthy match — both professionally and romantically.
Well, maybe Will knew.
He was the one conducting the interview for the cable company Multimedia at the time. Tieman interviewed Hart as a favor for a co-worker who was friends with Hart’s mother. Hart was looking for a writing position, but all Tieman had to offer at the time was a radio associate’s spot.
“I was kind of taken with her right away and I offered her the job,” he said. “She said no! I couldn’t believe it. I told our office person, ‘You call her back and you tell her that she can do whatever she wants. She can answer phones, she can send her resumes to newspapers, I don’t care. She needs to be in here and be one of us.’"
Tieman said Hart took the deal, but continued to look for other jobs.
"We’ve been a team ever since," he said. "That’s been a long time, but it’s all been good. It’s gone fast.”
Tieman can’t recall exactly when it was that their relationship became romantic.
“At the end of the day, what makes your relationship work is respect, (that) you like each other and have a lot of things in common," he said. "I don’t want to get trite and call it a match made in heaven — because I don’t know if there is such a thing — but it just sort of worked."
The duo decided to move to Michigan in 1991, giving in to a recruiting pitch from then-Michigan State football coach and athletic director George Perles to take over the Spartan Sports Network.
“We were called to fix the broadcast, make it sound better and make it a network where you could actually hear a game,” Tieman said. “We just fell in love with the place. We fell in love with Michigan as a state. We fell in love with the people."
With Tieman acting as president and as the voice of Michigan State basketball, and Hart as vice president in charge of operations, the network has become the most-listened-to sports network in the state and a model for universities across the country to emulate.
Hart, whose writing skills Tieman called “second to none,” was a bit of a pioneer for women in the sports industry.
“She was kind of groundbreaking,” he said. “She was the first female in the Big Ten that actually had a lead role in producing. She wasn’t somebody’s assistant. ... That was also a major step for George Perles to entrust her. This is the first time Perles had worked that closely with a female in that kind of role."
This summer, Tieman and Hart were inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. They were the first duo to go in together.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.