NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State Athletics and its multimedia rightsholder, LEARFIELD’s Redbird Sports Properties, announced Thursday that John Fitzgerald will take over as “Voice of the Redbirds” concurrent with the 2022-23 college athletics season.
Fitzgerald will handle play-by-play duties for Redbird football and men’s basketball, as he did from 2002-2004. Additionally, he will host both seasonal coaches’ shows and the new Illinois State Athletics “In the Nest” podcast.
“The legacy of broadcasters who have held this position is truly legendary,” Fitzgerald said. “Hall of Fame broadcasters such as Joe Tait, Jim Durham, Art Kimball, Mark Johnson and Dick Luedke have all served as the Voice of the Redbirds. The opportunity to return to the area and serve in this role is one that I truly cherish. I have felt a great affinity for Illinois State and the Redbird community since I first held the position, and I’m so excited to be able to return and help tell the story of what is an incredibly exciting time in Redbird Athletics. I think the vision of ISU Director of Athletics Kyle Brennan and the energy surrounding the football and men’s basketball programs, under the direction of Brock Spack and Ryan Pedon, respectively, will make for outstanding stories to help narrate and communicate to the fanbase.”
He has significant broadcast and intercollegiate athletics administration experience. Most recently, he was Lewis University’s associate athletic director for external relations and held play-by-play duties for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s soccer. Fitzgerald also hosted and produced the weekly Flyer Nation television show.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome John back to the community and once again have him call Redbird football and men’s basketball games on WJBC,” Brennan said. “John is someone our fans are familiar with from his time working in the community and will bring an experienced, passionate voice to our broadcasts for our fans, alumni and families to enjoy.”
A seasoned broadcaster, Fitzgerald has been the lead play-by-play voice for minor league baseball, as well as a variety of high school and college sports throughout his career. He served as the radio and television play-by-play voice for Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball for two different stints, 1999-2002, and then from 2004-2017. In between, he was sports director for WJBC Radio in Bloomington, Ill., where he served as the radio voice of Illinois State football and men’s basketball.
“We’re thrilled to have John return to call Redbird game action for fans,” said Danny Dunbar, general manager for Redbird Sports Properties, LEARFIELD’s local team dedicated to Illinois State. “He brings valuable experience, not to mention a special affinity with the Redbirds, and we’re excited for the season to kick off.”
Fans can hear Fitzgerald behind the mic for the first time when Redbird football opens the season on the road against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. CST.
LEARFIELD is a leading media and technology services company in intercollegiate athletics. The company unlocks the value of college sports for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions. LEARFIELD services includes licensing and multimedia sponsorship management; publishing, audio, digital and social media; data analytics; ticketing, ticket sales and professional concessions expertise; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue technology systems. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.
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