Interview with Lou Gellerman
Lou Gellerman at work.
Lou Gellerman, longtime press box announcer for Husky football games, retired unexpectedly this past season following the September 15 Ohio State game. Unbeknownst to many band alums is that Lou also spent a couple of years as the official announcer for the Husky Band. We recently sat down with Lou to gain a little more insight into his past with the band and Husky athletics.
Q: How long were you press box announcer for the Husky football games?
A: From 1968 to this past season, 40 seasons in total.
Q: What led you to becoming the announcer?
Following my graduation from the UW in 1932, I started announcing basketball games for Roosevelt High School, my alma mater. By 1968, I had been the press box announcer for Navy games at the U.S. Naval Academy for four years when UW Sports Information Director John Reid called to offer me the job of coaching crew with Dick Erickson. In addition to crew, John initially hired me to also do the internal public address in the press box during games. It was in 1985 that I actually took over the (external) public address job.
(Lou also mentioned that while announcing for the U.S. Naval Academy, he was honored with doing the press box announcing for two Army-Navy games)
Q: What led to your signature “Hello, Dawg fans!”?
A: I started announcing Husky men’s basketball in 1968. For seven seasons, I announced both men’s and women’s basketball. Before one of the many men’s games, Cindy Holt and I were kicking ideas around on how we could pump up the introduction of the players. We came up with a scheme of greeting fans with “Hello, Dawg fans!” Much to our surprise, many of the key 100 Club folks just spontaneously said back to me, “Hello Lou.” It stayed a tradition as long as I announced men’s basketball. I took it with me to Husky Stadium and it’s worked well ever since.
Q: I’m not sure many of our alumni may realize that you were actually at one time the announcer for the Husky Band. What were the circumstances behind you getting that position and how long did you hold it?
A: As I recall, I believe Bill Cole had contacted Dr. Win Byrd in the UW Speech Department about the opening. Professor Byrd had been my mentor for several years and he must have recommended me for the position. I announced for the Husky Band for two years, 1958-1959. My career with the band ended with the 1960 Rose Bowl. I thoroughly enjoyed announcing for Bill Cole, the band director. I was lucky to work for such a genuine and special human being.
Q: What are some of your fondest memories of those years working with Bill Cole and the Band?
A: The enthusiasm of the band members was contagious. They had great fun and yet were keenly committed to doing an excellent job. They and Bill inspired me.
Q: Were there any road trips or bowl games with the band that left you with some interesting memories?
A: Wherever the band traveled, I got to go, too. The 1960 Rose Bowl halftime show featured a rocket built out of band members. I got to say, “…5,4,3,2,1, blast off,” and a simulated rocket launch took place as the sections of the rocket parted while the tip “took off.” The crowd of 101,000 just loved it. They signaled approval and appreciation with loud “oohs” and “ahhs.” (No pun intended), it was a “booming” success.
Q: Do you have an “all-time” favorite memory?
A: Forty seasons is a long chunk of consideration to try to narrow a favorite memory into one incident. Rather, what stands out are the many incidents of warmth and kind treatment from those with whom I worked. I’ve always felt very privileged to be a small part of a very large, big-time, sophisticated and classy program. I’ve benefited greatly to stay close to Husky sports over the years. There is one guy who stuck with me through thick and thin. Bob Sifferman, my spotter, has been a great friend and an excellent spotter. He’s one in a million. I’ve been lucky to work with him.
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