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Bradley Hilltopics

Fall 2008 • Volume 14, Issue 4  

Sports Scene
Right up his alley | Ladas ’54 broadcasts for bowlers | Spare scholarship dollars | Herzog ’74 ready for season #33 | New coach throws out Cubs’ first pitch

 

Ready for season #33

By GAYLE ERWIN McDOWELL ’77

don ladas
PAUL HERZOG ’74 and his son Bradley are two of the Braves’ biggest fans. Herzog has been the public address announcer at BU basketball games since the ’70s.

PAUL HERZOG ’74 has been saying almost the same thing for 32 years now: “Good evening everyone. On behalf of Bradley president …” And he goes on to welcome the crowd to the home of “our Bradley Braves.”

Now into his fourth decade as Bradley men’s basketball’s public address announcer (PA), it would be difficult to find a more dedicated Bradley alumnus. Herzog has won awards, served as president of alumni groups, funded an annual scholarship, and relished his volunteer job as PA at Bradley Braves games. He recently surpassed the impressive PA record of BOB LEU ’40, who announced for the Braves from 1938 to 1970. Leu (pronounced Loy) was a member of the Bradley Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1978.

Herzog’s fondness for the Hilltop is evident in more subtle ways, too. For example, a Bradley University frame holds a personalized license plate that hints at his part-time job. He admits to saving every issue of Hilltopics for the past 30 years. Perhaps most telling is the name Herzog and his wife Colleen chose for their firstborn son: Bradley. If he’d had his way, Bradley’s 9-year-old sister would have been Lydia, but the couple compromised on Alyssa.

Asked what drives him to be one of the University’s greatest fans, the record-setting PA responds that it has been “like a perpetual motion emotion.” He explains, “I give to Bradley. Bradley gives to me. I give more to Bradley. Bradley gives more to me.” In 1993, BU honored Herzog with the Lydia Moss Bradley award, given in recognition of outstanding commitment and service to the University. Since the mid-’80s, he has served multiple-year terms as president of alumni groups CIBAC, BUAA, and the Bradley Braves Club.

A native of Troy, Ill., Herzog came to Bradley in 1970 as a chemistry major, planning to become a pharmacist. “At the time, freshmen couldn’t play basketball so there was a freshman team that played before the varsity game,” he recalls. “I noticed the freshmen didn’t have a PA.” Herzog had done some announcing at Triad High School, so he offered to announce the freshman games. Eventually he sat behind announcer FRANK BUSSONE ’64 MA ’66 and served as his assistant during varsity games at the Field House. “I would help out where I could. It was a great seat and I enjoyed it,” says Herzog, who by that time had changed his major to speech. He also joined the baseball team as a walk-on player and became a sportswriter for the Scout.

For the 1975–76 season, the PA job was handled by the sports information director, DAVE SNELL ’76. Snell moved on to broadcasting, and Herzog was asked to become the new public address announcer. At the time, he was the advertising director of a magazine published by PJS Publications. Each January he skipped one game, due to an out-of-town commitment for work. Of the 465 games he has announced, Herzog still regrets the three he had to miss. One featured a famous BOBBY HUMBLES ’78 last-second shot against Wichita; the next was a 46-point game for ROGER PHEGLEY ’78 in a 107-106 loss to No. 4-ranked UNLV; and the third, the ejection of coach Dick Versace. Since 1982 when the Braves moved downtown to the Peoria Civic Center, Herzog has achieved perfect attendance at the microphone.

Of his unpaid job at Carver Arena, Herzog says, “I take it seriously. I still try to pay attention to what people want to hear. I try to be informative about more than just the basics.” In addition to his PA duties for Bradley, he has announced the state high school championship games since the IHSA brought March Madness to Peoria in 1996. “It’s invigorating because of the energy level of those teams and their fans,” he remarks.

Herzog, a chartered financial consultant with MassMutual Financial Group since 1980, has been recognized eight times as agent of the year in central Illinois. He now has yet another volunteer job as coach of Bradley Herzog’s Germantown Hills fourth grade travel team. When the origin of his son’s name comes up in conversation, and it frequently does, the 11-year-old always responds the same way: “They named me Bradley so I wouldn’t go to Illinois State.”

 

Right up his alley | Ladas ’54 broadcasts for bowlers | Spare scholarship dollars | Herzog ’74 ready for season #33 | New coach throws out Cubs’ first pitch