Known throughout the region for his wild and crazy pants, sportscaster Matt Gittens from KPVI News 6 in Pocatello visits with a food vendor from the station's booth at the Eastern Idaho State Fair recently. Fair-goers had fun poking their faces through the cutouts of Gittens and his unique attire.
By LISA LETE
POCATELLOâ€”Two years ago, when KPVI News 6 sports director Matt Gittins posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing a pair of ugly, green bowling pants from his high school days, he had no idea of the adamant reaction he would receive from the station's viewers. Since then he has stepped it up by wearing much "fancier" pants that have now become his "signature look" in East Idaho.
Gittins, who has worked at KPVI for three years, said he was telling co-worker Matt Davenport about the green pants that he wore to make himself stand out in the bowling alley. Just for fun, the two decided to post a picture of Gittins wearing the pants on KPVI's Facebook page to see what the viewers would think.
"The reaction was a resounding NO!" Gittins exclaimed. "People thought the pants were the ugliest thing they'd ever seen."
Gittins figured that if a pair of pants could create such a stir with the viewers, then "why not go for an even bigger reaction." He ordered three pairs of the colorful pants online and started wearing them to high school sporting events.
Gittins said the pants have helped him build a good rapport with high school students, saying, "I made a point to wear the pants with the school colors of whatever school I was covering. If I was at Blackfoot, it was all about the green and black. The kids went crazy; they loved it. The pants are a hit because of the high school kids," he said. "When people ask me, 'what's my favorite' school?' I say, 'it's whatever school I'm covering.' "
Gittins' wardrobe has now grown to over 20 pairs of the zany pants, (which he orders online from Loudmouthgolf.com) and 50 pairs of matching Nike sport shoes. Gittins said he wears the pants to work every day, five days a week.
"The pants have taken on a life of their own," he joked. "They have their own Twitter following and they even ran for president."
Gittins said he has a system of hanging the pants in his closet to ensure that each pair is worn equally.
"After wearing a pair, I hang them to the right of the closet and move the next pair up to the left," he explained.
Gittins, a newlywed, said that while most people get a kick out of his pants, there are people who don't like the pants - and his wife [Lindsay] is one of them.
"She is not a fan of my pants. When we got married she insisted that I wear normal pants and shoes. I did, however, wear some pink socks," he laughed. "I guess you can say that in some ways, she wears the pants in the family."
Gittins said that his pants are part of his persona as a KPVI news personality and that when he is not working, the flashy pants are off.
Gittins, a native of Utah and graduate of BYU, said that, fancy pants aside, "he loves his job as sports director for KPVI and takes it seriously."
Before coming to Pocatello he spent four seasons with the Orem Owlz (the Pioneer League Affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) where he was the play-by-play voice for the team as well as the Director of Media Relations.
After the Owlz, he moved to work for the NBA and NBA D-League. He was the voice of the Utah Flash (D-League affiliate of the Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks).
Gittins said he never wanted to come to Idaho, but now that he is here, he can't imagine being anyplace else.
"I was offered a job at KPVI and it just felt right," he said. "I'm so happy to see the teams around here succeed and take state championships. It's like I'm cheering on my own little brothers and sisters."
While Gittins admits, that down the road, he will likely move "onward and upward" away from KPVI and East Idaho, he said "he is not in a rush to go and won't leave unless the perfect job comes along."
In the meantime, Gittins, in his happy pants, is looking forward to fall and covering East Idaho's high school and college football.
With his undeniable humor, Gittins quipped, "I prefer just blending in with the crowd."