|« Several Tests For Jags On Saturday Against Nicholls State||SDSU hosts Illinois State in "Cereal Bowl", Coyotes Take on Tough NAIA »|
Penn PA Announcer To Retire After 50 Years Of Service
C.T. Alexander has accomplished more in his 76 years than most can imagine. Marine, director of two federal programs involving international education, cheerleader, grandfather; Alexander has done it all. For the last 50 years, Franklin Field’s patrons have known Alexander as simply, “The Voice.”
“The Voice” is kicking off his final season tomorrow night when the Quakers host Lafayette in Penn’s season opener.
Since Alexander became public address announcer for Franklin Field and Penn’s football team in 1960, he has seen seven coaches roam the sideline, and also saw the Quakers capture 13 Ivy League titles. The longevity of Alexander’s career is impressive, Penn athletic director Steve Bilsky said.
“It’s remarkable that one person could be a public address announcer at a remarkable facility such as Franklin Field for half a century,” Bilsky said. “It’s a unique accomplishment that’s unlikely to be repeated.”
After realizing he was too small to play collegiate football, Alexander became a cheerleader while an undergraduate at Penn. Upon graduation, Alexander served 2 years of active duty in the Marine Corps before being offered his current position by Ed Fabricius, Penn’s sports information director at the time.
Alexander has had plenty of memories since then. Whether announcing the final score of Penn’s thrilling, 23-21 victory over Harvard that gave the Quakers the 1982 Ivy League championship, or the way he handled a moment of silence in Penn’s first game after President Kennedy was assassinated, Alexander has stayed true to an attribute he refined as a Marine - discipline.
“You really have to discipline yourself,” Alexander said. “You have to know the sport. You have to be able to put your announcements in as few of words as possible.
“You have to try to be level all the time,” he added. “I had to be consistent and fair to both teams. [PA announcers] have a great advantage with the mic.”
Alexander has called all but three Penn home football games over the last 50 years. One of those times, he was assigned the task of showing the Netherlands’ director of culture what the United States had to offer. Naturally, he took her to a Penn football game. So, while Alexander sat in Franklin Field’s stands, his son, John, was the PA announcer. If the senior Alexander had his way, the mic would stay within the family, he said.
“I do think [John’s taking over as PA announcer] is logical for a number of reasons,” Alexander said. “He’s been my spotter for over 30 years . . . He knows football inside and out. It would be an awfully nice sports tradition to have him take over for me.”
Regardless of who succeeds him, the next PA announcer will have his work cut out for him, said Alanna Shanahan, Penn’s senior associate director of athletics.
“All the people that have worked with C.T. for so many decades will surely miss him,” Shanahan said. “He will be hard to replace.”
As he enters the final season, Alexander doesn’t dread leaving the press box. In fact, it’s something he has readied himself for quite some time.
“I don’t think there’s any difficulty in leaving the job,” Alexander said. “I’ve [prepared] myself for it for a long time. I’ve felt that the even number of 50 years is enough.
“You’ve got to know when to quit,” Alexander added.
Things seemed to have come easily for Alexander, including retirement. In reality, Alexander’s productivity and success have come as a result of one simple philosophy - doing what he loved.
“Do what you really enjoy and try to enjoy every moment that you’re doing it,” Alexander said. “That’s what’s gotten me through some of the harder times.”
By Kyle Gauss. Philadelphia Daily News