The No. 13-ranked Butler Bulldogs found themselves down by 16 points at halftime against Marquette less than two weeks after knocking off the country’s top-ranked team in Villanova.
It did not look good for Butler until the Bulldogs started the second half on a 15-5 run and took a 60-59 lead with just under eight and a half minutes left. A few plays later, freshman Kamar Baldwin shot a 3-pointer from the top of the key in hopes of taking a four point lead with less than four minutes remaining.
“Kamar Baldwin a 3!”
Dave Peach’s voice echoed throughout the stadium as the ball dropped through the net and the home fans erupted. Butler earned itself an 88-80 victory in a game that Peach said might have been the greatest second half he has ever witnessed at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
These are moments for which Columbus North graduates Gavin Fisher and Peach both live. Peach and Fisher, who is the PA announcer for Butler women’s basketball and volleyball, get to be the voices of some of college sports’ most memorable moments.
Fisher got the chance to be a part of the Big East volleyball tournament that was hosted at Hinkle Fieldhouse this year, while Peach became the voice of hope in the mens’ 66-58 win against No. 1 Villanova.
Peach said he felt the Bulldogs needed to reward their fans by beating last year’s tournament champions for their continued loyalty to the team. He wanted to make sure to do his part in making that happen in a game he said he’ll never forget.
“I wanted everything that I say to be translated into we’re going to win tonight,” Peach said. “I wanted that in my inflection … I wanted the fans to hear that they were in for something special that night.”
Being the voice of the crowd can be loads of fun, but it is also a tremendous responsibility. Butler athletics have taken a much bigger stage since it joined the Big East Conference four years ago.
Fisher said he feels more pressure to do better when it is a conference event because there is more attention on those particular games and he wants to represent the school and conference well.
Peach, who grew up an Indiana University fan, and Fisher, a Ball State alum, have both become fans of the Bulldogs as PA announcers. There still is a level of objectivity that needs to take place despite having their own biases, especially during the times Fisher was announcing for Big East tournament games.
If Butler happens to make it to a Big East championship game hosted at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the PA announcer must stay neutral. The announcer can still get the crowd fired up on big plays, but showing favoritism when announcing player introductions is not allowed.
Announcing for two different sports is a change of pace for Fisher. In basketball, Fisher is forced to focus on points, which happens at a much faster rate, as well as fouls, substitutions and turnovers, while listening to what is going on in the headset. Substitutions are less frequent in volleyball, and there are no major fouls or penalties that must be announced, so it is a much smoother pace.
Fisher said preparation is one major factor of performing well as an announcer. He likes to study the opposing team’s roster before the game and try to get as much information in advance from Butler’s athletic department.
Much of the basketball announcements depend on what is going on once the game actually begins, but there are a few things that the announcers can already be prepared for like special senior night introductions.
No matter how much pregame preparation they do, the most important factor that both Peach and Fisher agree on when being a good college public announcer is the love for the game.
Fisher started out in marketing for the Butler athletics department and enjoyed working with the staff for a little over a year before being asked to start announcing. He works as a banker during the day, but does not take the sports atmosphere for granted.
“It’s a lot of fun, great people in the athletic department,” Fisher said. “Great fans come. I’ve gotten to know some fans over the year. We’ll chat before the game starts or at halftime, and that’s kind of fun to be a part of that atmosphere.”
The best atmospheres for Fisher are created when Butler is playing a college that is close in distance like Xavier, which has more fans who travel. Fisher also said schools like Xavier are more likely to have local kids on the team. Opposing teams with players who are from the area seem to always help draw more attention from the fans.
Peach enjoys vibrant crowds, as well. His broadcasting background allowed him to start announcing for Butler in 1986 before moving for to Virginia in 2004 and returning to the Bulldogs three years later for former coach and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ first year.
Peach came back to Indiana to become the general manager of three Crawfordsville radio stations when Butler asked him to become the voice of the Bulldogs fans once again.
Since then, Peach has become friends with T.J. Perry, a North graduate who was on Butler’s first tournament team in 1997, which takes it back full circle for Peach. He has been able to witness the progression of Butler men’s basketball, including the two national runner-up finishes under Stevens.
Chris Holtmann has taken over the team since Stevens’ departure, and Peach believes Holtmann has the potential to take this team to new heights. He is excited for what the team will do moving forward and he is enjoying every minute of it.
“To do games here in Hinkle Fieldhouse with a team that is nationally ranked and a team that I love is just beyond my wildest dreams,” Peach said. “With Chris Holtmann, who knows what’s next because this team isn’t done dreaming. They dream big.”