The Man Behind the Microphone in Athens County< < Back to
Lou Horvath, a resident of Albany, has been the designated public address announcer for the Alexander Spartans Athletic Department since his son was in middle school.
The Alexander Local Schools community comes together each week to attend games held in The Alley or at the soccer field, but it would not be the same without Horvath behind the microphone.
Prior to sports, Horvath worked at the Social Security Administration Bureau in Athens, doing communication work for the business including newspaper articles, radio and TV assignments. In addition, he represented companies in meetings with presentations and seminars.
Once his son entered junior high, the team sought an announcer for the tournament games. Horvath volunteered, landing him in basketball, announcing for the division-four sectional tournament held in Albany.
Following the sectionals, Alexander also hosted another tournament called “Hoops,” but instead of The Alley, the event was held in Ohio University’s Convocation Center in Athens.
While announcing there, he caught the attention of the university, leading to opportunities to announce for Ohio women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and football.
Horvath has turned into a local celebrity, but he said he still does it for the love of the game and not for the attention.
“I always say, I’m not the show,” Horvath said. “I make it a show for the kids.”
Not only does Horvath enjoy enhancing the experience for the student-athletes, he said he likes to add a twist of creativity when action happens on the court or the field. At the beginning of the game, he has his iconic phrase: It’s basketball :30.
“When teams come up from southern Ohio to the Convo to play in the district tournaments, they’ll have t-shirts made with ‘It’s basketball :30,” he said. “One year, they had a bus with a big sign on the side of it saying ‘It’s basketball :30’.”
The phrase stems from “Beer 30” that Horvath and his fellow soldiers used during the Vietnam War.
“When we were in Vietnam, it was ‘beer :30,’” Horvath said with a smile. “So, ‘basketball :30’ seemed like a natural out grove from that which was organic.”
But “Basketball :30” isn’t the only catch phrase Horvath uses during his games. Sayings such as, “From the third ring of Saturn!” or “Trifecta” to indicate a three-pointer was made. Or “Drive. Basket. Schaller,” for when Trey Schaller or any of the Spartans make a basket in the paint.
But, when Horvath decides to hang it up, there are some phrases that he would like to keep for himself.
“But what I don’t want anybody saying is ‘It’s basketball :30’, because that’s mine. Or the ‘two-minute line,’ that’s mine.”