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Published: Sunday, 2/26/2006

Dave Horger: Fans come first for BGSU announcer

In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in The Blade's sports section. Blade sports writer Matt Markey talked with Dave Horger, the longtime voice of the Falcons for Bowling Green State University athletics.

In 1979, Dave Horger started with WFOB, the flagship station of Falcon sports, and has been affiliated with the radio and television broadcasts in some capacity for most of the time since then, doing stats, color commentary, play-by-play, and hosting the pregame, postgame and weekly coaches shows.

He currently does play-by-play on the television broadcasts of BGSU football and basketball on Buckeye Cable Sports Network, sports and news reports on WFOB, and Internet broadcasts of high school games.

Horger has been covering the athletic teams at Bowling Green State University for more than 25 years as a radio and television broadcaster. After stints at radio stations in his native East Liverpool, Ohio, and in Parkersburg, W.Va., Horger wound up in Bowling Green in the fall of 1979, working for the local AM station, WFOB.

An opportunity came up to work alongside veteran BGSU play-by-play announcer Dave Carr for the basketball season, and Horger jumped in. He did stats and provided color commentary during the eras of football coaches Denny Stolz and Moe Ankney, and basketball coaches John Weinert and Jim Larranaga.

After about a decade in that role, Horger took over as the voice of the Falcons when Carr retired, and called BGSU football and men's basketball games for a dozen years. That covered the full 10-year stint of football coach Gary Blackney, and the two years current Florida coach Urban Meyer spent at Bowling Green. It also allowed Horger to work first with Larranaga, and then with current BG basketball coach Dan Dakich for a number of years.

Horger maintained his role as the morning newsman in WFOB's Bowling Green studio, and did occasional high school games on the station. He also hosted the weekly basketball and football coaches shows from Fricker's near Perry Stadium.

"WHEN I WAS doing play-by-play, I was fortunate to get former BG quarterback Mark Miller as the color guy, and he brought instant credibility to the broadcasts.

"WE BROADCAST THE games as Falcon fans, because we were Falcon fans, as were probably 95 percent of the people who were listening to the games. There was always the concern from the administration that we keep things positive, and we did, but there's a limit to that. When it came to bone-headed plays, if that's what it was, then we called it that.

"IT WAS ALWAYS a difficult thing for me to talk to coaches on a postgame show after a loss. Dan Dakich and I get along great, and I would look forward to talking with him after games - when they won. To this day, people still comment on those conversations we had, and that's because of Dan - nobody ran out to the car to hear me ask him questions. They wanted to hear what Dan had to say. But when he lost it was difficult to do those postgame shows, because he was so passionate and intense and wrapped up in his work.

"BUT THE FRICKER'S shows with Dakich, those were some of the most fun I've had on radio. I really understand and appreciate his sense of humor. He can be absolutely hilarious, and usually he is making fun of himself."

"THE BLACKNEY SHOWS were of two kinds. In the period when they were winning, he was a very charismatic guy, and seemed to enjoy so much the spotlight and the success on the field. Over his last few years when the team was not doing well, we could have taken a tape from one week and used it the next, changing only the names of the other team. He didn't really want to be there, and it showed."

"NO MATTER IF I was working for the university or for WFOB, I tried to disregard all of that and just call the game. What I tried to do was think about the fans, since that's who was listening. Those were the people on my mind. I didn't want to have to stop and think about how the university might react to an interview or a certain call. To be honest and fair and have credibility, you have to forget about where the check comes from and just call the game."

"I LIVE IN this community, and I see folks, Falcon fans, every day, everywhere I go. The reaction has usually been pretty positive, and most of them know I am a fan just like them.

"WHEN I REALIZE it has been a quarter of a century doing BG sports - that knocks me out, but I guess it has flown by. It is all seasonal, and you just jump from one to next, and it's an endless string. I still love what I do, and consider myself fortunate. Being at any station as long as I have been is unique in this business, because jobs and people change tremendously often. It is not all fun and games, but I tell people all the time, this sure beats working for a living."

Contact Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6510.



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