John Ward (broadcaster)

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John Ward is a former radio broadcaster at the University of Tennessee from 1965 until 1999. Ward received a law degree in 1954 at the University of Tennessee's main campus in Knoxville. Shortly after, he decided to go into radio and advertising. Ward's first broadcast of a UT basketball game came in 1958. Shortly after, he joined the Army.

After returning to Knoxville, Ward went to work at an advertising agency. In 1964 he began handling the duties as announcer-host-coordinator for UT coaches television shows in football and basketball. His broadcasting career blossomed when he became the Vols' radio play-by-play voice, first, for basketball in 1965 and three years later for football (1968).

In addition to his duties with the Vol Network, he covered events for ABC-TV and ESPN.[1] Ward is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.[2] Ward was known as the "Voice of the Vols" for 31 years on the air. Ward and Bill Anderson, his color commentator for the entire 31 years, became the longest-running broadcasting partnership in college football.[3]

His trademarks include: his introduction to each game, "It's football time in Tennessee!;" his touchdown call, "Give ... him ... SIX! ... TOUCHDOWN, TENNESSEE!;" asking, "Did he make it?", and answering, "HE MADE IT!," after a made field goal; enthusiastically saying, "BOTTOM!" after a made basket in basketball; and wearing a light blue towel around his neck while broadcasting.

After the 1998-99 football and basketball seasons, in which the Volunteers won the National Championship in football, Ward retired and was replaced by Bob Kesling. The University of Tennessee named the fourth level of the press box at Neyland Stadium The John Ward Broadcast Center in Ward's honor in 1995.[4] Ward's final football broadcast was the first BCS national championship. Tennessee defeated Florida State to win its first national title since 1967. His final broadcast for the Vols came in the second round of the 1999 NCAA men's basketball tournament, with Tennessee's loss to Southwest Missouri State University.

Ward still does some commercial radio advertisements heard state-wide.

References[edit]

  1. ^ UT Sports
  2. ^ UT Distinguished Alumni
  3. ^ Tennessee Vols Traditions
  4. ^ utsports.com - Vol Network Personnel