PITTSBURGH – With college sports comes talented student/athletes, with impressive skills and inspirational personal stories. But the personal connection created with the players wouldn’t happen without the work of captivating sports announcers giving voice to the games and behind the scenes action.
For Scott Langenfeld, this important work is just another day on the court, rink or field. During the day, the PNC employee monitors debit card and PIN number transactions, and investigates malfunctioning ATM machines or problems with customer purchases.
During his free time, he is the primary public address announcer for Duquesne University athletics and the back-up for Robert Morris University, whose men’s basketball team advanced to the first round of this year’s NCAA post-season tournament before losing to Duke.
Scott says he learned an important lesson about pronunciation early in his sports announcer career. “On my first day on the air at my first radio job, there was a big series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies. The first four words out of my mouth were "The Phirates and Pillies.”
Despite the gaffe, his radio career thrived, with 13 years in radio full-time and another 20 years part-time, including a stint as an ESPN Radio affiliate sports anchor in Pittsburgh. In addition to serving as voice of eight sports at Duquesne and 12 sports at Robert Morris, he currently announces Duquesne football and women’s basketball. Over time, he’s honed his pronunciation skills to master names like Agunbiade, Scezsi, Szamosi and Voynova.
He has since “retired” from a seven-year run with men’s basketball, and has filled in for various other sports, including baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, softball and soccer.
The Duquesne graduate has had the chance to announce significant sports events. His personal favorites include:
Scott was even fortunate enough to announce the second and third rounds of the 2012 NCAA men’s basketball tournament played at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center. This year he wasn’t courtside during the games, but he watched in-person and on TV, listening intently to ensure each player's name was pronounced clearly and accurately. After 10 years as a public address announcer, it's a hard habit to break.
Another lifelong habit is a reluctance to become part of the story. 'I tend to just announce the play and get out of the way. No one comes to a sporting event to hear the public address announcer. The game is the most important thing.'
But in one of his most memorable stories at a Duquesne women’s basketball game, the players thought otherwise. A few days before, Scott had a minor accident that left his face bruised and upper lip swollen. As the game progressed, players came to his scoring table to check in, bringing ice cubes from the bench to control the swelling and enable him to keep talking.
“The team was not only focused on their game, but also was helping to take care of the PA guy. I was so touched,” he said.
Scott's P.A. announcer duties range from basketball to lacrosse and softball.
Sports creates its own drama; I think it’s the best form of reality TV. But the personal relationships you create with players, coaches, and even some fans is something I find interesting and rewarding.
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