I have to be honest. The last few days have been uncomfortable for me. I didn't want this Public Address Announcer thing to become a thing. Unfortunately, it kind of did.
Many of my friends, media colleagues, and listeners starting inquiring as to where I was when the Basketball Buckeyes hosted Indiana Tuesday night. I was getting e-mails and Twitter messages wondering why I wasn't at the game. One thing led to another and here we are.
I have had the honor to be Ohio State's men's basketball P.A. announcer for 21 years. My first season was the last in St. John Arena and I have been there since year one of the Schott. It's been awesome.
As a kid who grew up in Indiana, basketball was my first love. Had I been blessed with more athletic ability, height, speed, vertical jump and a jump shot, I would have been a basketball player. Since I had none of those, I swam. So it was a blessing to have the opportunity to sit court side at The Ohio State University, and do a job that I loved.
When I got the call last weekend that a change was going to be made, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed--but it's not disappointment with Ohio State. There are people that I have worked alongside with through the years that I don't just like---I love. There are no hard feelings toward them at all. The disappointment was that my cool, fun little side gig was ending.
My love affair with Buckeye basketball started when I was in high school. I have a brother who preceded me to Ohio State. I started following the Buckeyes of Clark Kellogg, Herb Williams, Carter Scott and Granville Waiters back then. When I followed my brother to OSU, I thought it was really cool to be on the same Baker Hall dorm room wing as Buckeye hoops great Dennis Hopson. I remember watching my friend, and longtime WTVN and 105.7, the Zone basketball analyst Tony White play. The Jim Jackson era was thrilling. I actually began my sports media career after that---during some lean years, but I still loved covering the team, so when former Ohio State SID Steve Snapp called me and asked if I would do PA for Buckeye basketball, I was over the moon. Who would have thought then that it would last 21 years?
I really wasn't part of the program, but there were times when I felt like I was. I will never forget getting a delivery of a pair of baby Nike shoes from Jim O'Brien when my daughter came home in 2003. I will never forget covering the Buckeyes for WTVN in 2012 and interviewing Thad Matta in the locker room after the Buckeyes beat No. 1 seed Syracuse in Boston. They were headed to Matta's second Final Four. When the interview ended and I started to walk away, I told Thad congratulations. Instead of a handshake, he put his arm around me and said, "Isn't this awesome?" Yes Thad--it was.
So my message really is thank you. Thanks Ohio State for the opportunity. Thanks Buckeye Basketball for being able to witness some high level stuff court side. Most of all--thanks Buckeye Nation. Since this happened this week, I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have sent me notes on Twitter, text messages, and e-mails, thanking me for my work. The thanks is to you. I appreciate the support.
Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. Go Bucks. Now go win the Big Ten!