For the last 8 seasons, I've been incredibly lucky to have the best seat in the house for Illinois Men's Basketball games at the Assembly Hall/State Farm Center. But my last game has passed, and I'm leaving as PA Announcer.
A few years ago, I had laryngitis twice during a basketball season. The Doctor who treated me pointed towards my aggressive style of announcing basketball, and said that I wouldn't be able to do that forever. Since then, I've had it in the back of my head that my time was limited.
Two years ago, I was lucky enough to take a position as a play by play announcer in professional tennis. I'm thrilled that the job continues to grow. But this season, however, there were multiple times that I had to make a choice between my "full time" job, and basketball games.
After talking it over with my family, I've decided that this seems like a logical jump off point for me. My tennis broadcasting career is growing, and it would take me away from basketball even more in the future than it did the last two seasons. I know that's not a good thing for one of the two premiere sports at the University of Illinois.
I look forward to staying involved in the Illini family, and hope to continue announcing Olympic sports like tennis, soccer, and baseball which have been less taxing on my throat, and have worked well with my schedule.
I wanted to say thank you to Craig Tiley, for getting me started in announcing; Cassie Arner, who pushed hard for me to get the basketball job many years ago; and the event management staff over the years, Holly Stalcup and Zach Acton these last few years, Kathy Hug and James Morton before them, who are grossly underpaid for the unique challenges that they face.
And thank you as well to John Groce and the basketball program for making me feel loved over the last few years. More than getting a chance to see some incredible games up close, I am honored to have had the opportunity to be around these young men who have served our community and University well, and continue to do so. .
I had the difficult job of replacing Jim Sheppard many years ago. It was not easy. I know that I did my best, worked hard, and gave everything that I had to the position. I hope that came through, and I am truly thankful to have had the chance to live out a dream that I had when I was a 6 year old announcing his own Nerf basketball games in his bedroom in Urbana.
And as always, Go Illini!