An era ended this week at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines at the Iowa High School Boys State Basketball Tournament. And it goes beyond the last high school game of Ames standout Harrison Barnes.
This era involves a voice you may have stumbled upon during a Friday night football game or basketball game or even during the summer talking baseball or softball.
This is a voice that’s been heard for thousands of athletic contests and probably millions of minutes on KWKY Radio. Many of those words were used in covering the West Des Moines Dowling Catholic Maroons, his alma mater.
Mark Amadeo called his last Dowling Catholic game for the near future Wednesday night, while court side at Wells Fargo Arena in a state tournament game against Southeast Polk.
Amadeo is stepping aside for a couple of years to watch his oldest son play varsity sports. He’s earned the right, he’s only been behind the play-by-play mic of Maroon events for 28 seasons. During the first five, he was the “color” guy providing commentary and analysis. After the first five, it was Amadeo who was the “Voice of the Maroons. Or as he puts it, “the Zabel Chair.” Mark even spent time coaching for Dowling Catholic, so this is man who’s been on both sides of the broadcast.
Mark guesses he called close to 350 football games and around 1,400 basketball games. The majority of them were Dowling games. He says “I’m still trying to call them the right way!!”
But Mark may not be done announcing games. He may get a chance to help out some other stations that cover his son’s team. And he hopes to return to call Dowling games in a couple of years. Plus, Mark will continue to make regular stops on the Iowa Sports Connection Radio show. He’s been known to grace the airwaves on a Saturday morning.
I’ve gotten to know Mark the last couple of years as I’ve transitioned into the KWKY radio family. Mostly I was the fourth guy on the crew, chasing down CIML scores, stats, extra spotter duties and beginning last year, operating the KWKY Twitter feed.
Mark knows Dowling Catholic sports history better than most people know their families. He’s always prepared, emotional about wins and losses and always there to help make sure any official comments are in a positive way. You won’t hear Mark be critical of the stripes. He’s a softball umpire as well. Mark works college and high school games, even getting the attention of Mike “Suitcase Sally” Newell during IPTV’s coverage of the Iowa State High School Softball Tourney a few years back. Mark always wants the story on my IPTV co-worker. Nicknames and stories about other broadcasters is always a fun part of working in the press box.
As Mark steps aside, I hope the endless parade of treats can still find their way to the pressbox from superfan Bev Whipple. I also thank Mark for the opportunity and chance to learn from him about broadcasting.
So in August of 2010 when you turn on the Dowling Catholic Maroons football broadcast on AM 1150 KWKY-AM, it may sound a little different. We’ll still have Dave Marcoulier and Brian Morris, but go easy on the new guy. He can’t begin to fill the shoes of Mr. Amadeo, but try on a new pair and hope they break in easy.