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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The final call

Dave+South+announced+his+first+Aggie+football+game+in+1985.Over+the+years%2C+South+has+also+announced+baseball+and+basketball.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Dave South announced his first Aggie football game in 1985.
Over the years, South has also announced baseball and basketball. 

Saturday’s game against New Mexico is just a normal game for Texas A&M football radio announcer Dave South.
For his listeners and several others who are close to him, the Aggies’ final home game of the season is special — its South’s final game to call at Kyle Field after 32 years behind the mic.
“It got here really fast,” South said. “All of the sudden we’re looking at the last home game of the year and back when I made this decision in August, that seemed like it was light years away, but now it’s here.”
ROAD TO AGGIELAND
South was supposed to have called his last Aggie football game after just one season in 1985, hoping to pursue more business endeavors in the radio broadcast industry. However, South said he was talked into staying for the next year.
“One year turned into 32 and I never dreamed that would happen because I came down with the expressed purpose of doing that one year and continuing into management where I moved in the broadcast industry, but it didn’t work out that way,” South said.
Following the 1988 season, South left to work for a radio station in Houston after receiving what he said was an irresistible offer. After just one year though, A&M called South hoping to hire him as their advertising director. Ted Dinerstein, Class of 1953 and owner of the station, was on board for South returning to Aggieland.
“We prayed about that and I called Ted and said A&M called and I explained everything to him,” South recalled. “He said, ‘Anybody but A&M I would fight you on, but if you want to go to A&M, that’s my school and I want you to do it.’”
Joining South in the booth for 1990 season was former Texas A&M safety Dave Elmendorf, who was beginning his second season as the Aggies’ color commentator. Closing in on 27 years together, Elmendorf said South’s on-air style has stayed mostly the same.
“He hasn’t changed a whole lot and that’s been good for me,” Elmendorf said. “You could always count on his style staying pretty much the same.”
And after three decades, South’s voice is one Aggies distinctly know, according to Gabe Bock, host of TexAgs Radio and Class of 2003.
“Dave is the recognizable voice of Aggieland and has been for about 30-plus years,” Bock said. “When you turn on the radio, you know exactly if you’re getting the A&M game or not.
MENTOR TO MANY
During the fall of 2005, Bock was in his first year of working in the radio broadcast business when he received a call from management at Bryan Broadcasting telling him South wanted to have lunch with him. The meal was successful for Bock, who was hired on the spot by South to help with the “Fan Zone” pregame show.
In 2006, Bock was promoted and backed up South for baseball broadcasts that overlapped with basketball games. South would then listen to playbacks of games and offer advice to Bock on how to improve.
“He was very important to me as a young cub broadcaster,” Bock said. “He really took me under his wing when I was trying to figure out if this was something I wanted to do. He really instilled in me some training and confidence. He’s a mentor to me and has been the Aggie institution calling plays.”
As a proud homer, South says he always wants the Aggies to win. If A&M is down, South does not begin to critique the Aggies and instead lets the numbers speak for themselves.
This mindset is one Zach Taylor, sports director for Bryan Broadcasting and Class of 2012, has taken from South as the voice for the Rudder High School football team in Bryan.
“If you’re the voice of that team, then it’s your team and you’re a part of the program,” Taylor said. “I think he definitely does that and I think people appreciate that. They can appreciate that Dave is one of them and makes him feel a part of his broadcasts.”
In the local community, South has had a positive presence, particularly as a member at Central Baptist Church in Bryan. Andrew Ballard, marketing junior and Bryan native, said one of his fondest memories of South was listening to him recite scripture at a Christmas concert — the same voice he listened to on the radio growing up.
“As a young Aggie who loved Aggie football and loved that voice, that was a really touching thing to experience as well as he’s just a guy who doesn’t hesitate to help people,” Ballard said. ”He’s a guy who’s firm in his faith and loves people and has been a fantastic role model for those in the community.”
PERPETUALLY PREPARED
Before each season, South begins by going to his office, the radio booth at Olsen Field, laying on the floor and listening to the last game of the previous season. South said he repeats this process every week, always looking for areas he can improve.
“I’ll make sure the way I described it can be understood,” South said. “I listen to what [Elmendorf] does, I listen to what [sideline reporter] Will [Johnson] does, if there’s anything that needs to be critiqued, I have no hesitation to critique it. There’s never been a perfect broadcast by anybody.”
Elmendorf said South’s work from Monday to Friday makes Saturdays easier and has always been amazed how he is able to juggle the amount of work he puts in during the week.
“I don’t know how he does it with the travel and the preparation, but he is always well-prepared,” Elmendorf said. “He is so well-prepared that he is never stumped by a play.”
The dedication South has to his job is a trait Bock said helps separate him from being ordinary and is shown during his broadcasts.
“He is way more prepared than you know,” Bock said. “You can tell just listening to him how prepared he is, but when you work right next to him, you see really what it takes not to be good, but great.”
CURTAIN CALL AT KYLE
Before Saturday’s game, South said he will have a large lunch with friends and family, many of whom will be in attendance at Kyle Field.
A&M’s head coach Kevin Sumlin has had a weekly radio show with South during the fall for each of his six seasons in College Station. He got emotional when describing his friendship with South at his Tuesday newsconference.
“Over the course of time, you become friends with people who have been in the foxhole with you and have to answer questions and do tough stuff and I truly appreciate his friendship,” Sumlin said.
On the other hand, South said he is content that he will no longer venture up into his booth that overlooks the southeast 35-yard line following this weekend.
“I’m very at peace with the decision I made, I’m looking forward to the future,” South said. “It’s been a great run. God’s blessed me with my career.”
FUTURE PLANS
Although South will no longer call football and men’s basketball games after this season, he will retain his post as the play-by-play radio for Aggie baseball.
Scott Clendenin, Class of 1990 who serves as South’s color commentator for baseball games, said he is not surprised that out of the three, South will continue to do just baseball. Clendenim said South’s love for the diamond began during his childhood as an avid fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I think my professional work with him is going to be fresh,” Clendenin said. “I’m not going to have to carry around the feelings Dave and Al [Pulliam] are going to feel the last time they do a game with him.”
Several trips are already planned for South next fall, including a week-long dove hunt to South Texas, something South has been unable to do since his college years.
With no cable at his house, South seldom watches other games and said the only time he listens live is when the Dodgers are playing. As for the Aggies, South said he will be checking the score, but is unsure if he will be paying attention in real time.
“I’ll check the scores for A&M because I want the Aggies to win, but I’ve got other things that I want to do,” South said. “But I don’t know if I’ll listen.”

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