The whirlwind life of Jeff Cardozo
Published: Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 30, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.
Jeff Cardozo is working on no sleep.
The bus that brought the Florida baseball team didn’t return from its away game until 2:30 in the morning and because he was gone, it was his turn to take his three children to school. Then, it was off to Ironwood Golf Course, where he works as the interim golf course manager. At 9:30 a.m. he is out the door to head to WRUF, where he co-hosts a two-hour radio show with Adam Schick. Then back to Ironwood and eventually home to his family.
This was not an atypical day for the 35-year-old Cardozo, who may not be the King of All Media but is awfully close.
The former UF pitcher has carved out quite a niche in the community, a man with more jobs than Ryan Seacrest, but nowhere near the bank account.
If you haven’t seen or heard Cardozo, you’re not paying attention.
“I always hoped I’d get involved in broadcasting somehow, but I never imagined it would happen like this,” he says.
Cardozo was a fine pitcher at Florida, a three-year starter whose highlight was a complete game win against Baylor as a junior in the Waco regional in 2000. He pitched that game with a torn rotator cuff, and, when it acted up again in the fall of his senior year, that season was lost to shoulder surgery.
It was then that he knew he needed to find a job. Now he has more than half a dozen.
Let me count the ways:
■ He serves as the color analyst for Florida baseball games.
■ He does his daily radio show after moving to WRUF from 105 The Game when that station switched formats.
■ He does public address for Florida women’s basketball, volleyball and occasionally men’s basketball.
■ He serves on the F Club board. The F Club is the organization of former letterwinners at Florida.
■ He has hosted several golf tournaments, including Caleb’s Pitch.
■ He has served as the master of ceremonies for Midnight Madness and Florida’s national championship celebrations, such as the one honoring the 2008 football team.
■ He films television commercials for a Dodge dealership in Gainesville.
■ He serves as the co-host for GatorVision, the athletic department’s TV show that highlights the school’s successful sports teams.
■ And his main job is to run the golf course at Ironwood.
In addition to all of these jobs, Cardozo coaches his son Austin’s baseball team, plays in golf tournaments where he is the self-proclaimed “longest hitter” in Gainesville and does what he can to help out his wife, Kristy, around the house.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to do a better job with the kids,” he says. “Five years ago, I’d come back from a road trip with baseball and be at the course at 5 a.m. Now, I make sure if I didn’t see them the day before, I make sure I get them up and take them to school.”
It’s an exhausting schedule, but Cardozo isn’t complaining. Quite to the contrary, he seems to relish every opportunity and is rarely seen without a smile and a kind word for everybody he comes into contact with in his many endeavors. Seriously, I don’t know of a nicer guy in Alachua County.
“It’s just the way I was raised, that whatever you do, work hard at it and have a smile on your face,” he says.
So how did this all begin? Cardozo started out working for the Florida sports information department during his senior year. He got a job as a bartender at Ironwood and was elevated to a full-time position when someone left the pro shop.
At the time, he was an official scorer for the Gator baseball games. One night, when one of the broadcasters on the radio was ill, he filled in.
“They got a bunch of calls the next day saying how good it was to have someone who really knew the game,” he says.
A telecommunications major at Florida, Cardozo was asked to be the full-time analyst in 2007. I can tell you, listening to Gator broadcasts is a treat with Cardozo behind the mike. And I can tell you that I’ve leaned on him between innings for information on what pitch was just taken out of the park or why certain players are in the game.
Cardozo started his radio talk show career following my radio show back in the day. Eventually we teamed up for several years on 104.9 FM. It was truly my pleasure.
“I just try to make fun of myself,” he says. “I’m never going to be one of those hoity-toity guys who takes themselves too seriously.”
The 6-foot-5-inch redhead, who has three children with Kristy, finds time for everything but sleep. And we’re all the better for it.