Things sound a little different at Amon Carter Stadium this season, and it’s not because of the construction cranes.After four years, former public address announcer Chris Kelly moved to pursue opportunities related to his day job as an attorney, leaving TCU football without one of the most recognizable voices on campus, said Scott Kull, associate athletics director for external relations.
After a search that lasted most of last spring, the marketing department selected ESPN Radio’s Joe Gumm for the job. Gumm reports on the Cowboys and Mavericks and is featured on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio.
Gumm’s announcing career spans many pro sports arenas from the hockey rink to the basketball court. He has worked for the Texas Brahmas, Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars and FC Dallas.
Gumm will be making his return to Horned Frogs athletics as he served as the full-time women’s basketball announcer and as a fill-in for the men’s squad a couple of years ago. Gumm also served as the Frogs’ internal public address announcer to the media for three seasons.
The position’s vacancy generated heavy interest because of TCU’s growing popularity, marketing director Jason Byrne said.
“One of the things that separated Joe was his ability to have the kind of excitement level as well as a classy approach to how he presents the game,” Byrne said. “He’s got experience with a number of different sports organizations in the Metroplex and came highly recommended.”
Per Mountain West Conference rules, Kull said it was important to find a public address announcer who would remain neutral during the game.
“We can’t have a PA announcer that roots for the home team,” Kull said. “They really need to try to be unbiased. He can’t say ‘look at those Horned Frogs go.'”
Gumm began announcing football and basketball games as a high school student at Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, where he graduated in 1990. The school inducted him into its Ring of Honor in January, Gumm said.
Gumm worked on the intricacies of his delivery as a broadcast communications major at UTA, finishing his degree in 2001, while working for USA Radio Network as a news and sports anchor.
In between, he served as an ordained youth minister.
“I always loved sports and knew I would be involved with them,” Gumm said. “God called me into sports broadcasting.”
Gumm’s family and friends do not let him forget that he has, what he called, a “natural public address announcer voice.”
“I am reminded of that every day with my wife and kids, so it evolved naturally,” Gumm said. “It just kind of got bigger and bigger, and the stage got bigger and the games got bigger.”
With the Brahmas, he was a finalist for the 2005-2006 Central Hockey League Announcer of the Year. During his time with the Mavericks, Gumm said he loved working in the rowdy atmosphere of American Airlines Center.
“I like doing the Mavericks because it’s an exciting environment,” Gumm said. “It’s a stressful environment, but it’s an exciting environment.”
Gumm said he will also never forget his tenure with FC Dallas. The team made it to the finals of the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, falling 1-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Despite the loss, Gumm said he relished the opportunity.
“That was a championship game, and I don’t know too many PA announcers around here who have actually done championship games,” Gumm said.
Gumm’s professional pedigree fits into what TCU was looking for when selecting a new voice for Amon Carter Stadium, Byrne said. He said the university wanted a credible professional who would also be willing to host other events on campus.
Gumm said he has a passion for college football – no matter who he is announcing.
“I actually (get) into the game, really excited about the game,” Gumm said. “I tend to get too excited, so sometimes, I have to back off.”
As public address announcer, Gumm said he arrives at the stadium two hours before the game.
During that time he will review the gameday schedule with the marketing department and meet with media relations director, Mark Cohen, to ensure he knows how to pronounce all the names properly, Byrne said.
Gumm said he takes over the microphone about 30 minutes before kickoff to announce the starting lineups.
Gumm said he will carry on Kelly’s “It’s third down!” catchphrase, and he hopes to find something to call his own without distracting from the on-the-field action.
“If you are talking about the NFL or college football, you just have to be creative because you come up with something you think is original, and all of a sudden someone else does it,” Gumm said. “I don’t want to be a gameday distraction. I just want to provide information and hopefully get it right for the fans and the team.