A Legend Retires

A typical Friday night at the Pit consists of a loud and rambunctious cheering section, tailgating in the Schaeper Center lot, a delicious slice of LaRosa’s and a Panther victory. What you may not know, however, is the man in the press Box. That man is Denny Wright. To find out more about the man behind the mic, I went to one faculty member that is in the press box every Friday night: Coach Bengel. I asked Coach Bengel if has learned anything from being in the box alongside Mr. Wright and he replied, “It is funny really. My partner, John Kirtley, learned everything he knows from Denny and I learned everything I know from John.” Coach Bengel went on to say that Mr. Wright really appreciates his job. “He genuinely loves Elder. Being the PA announcer is not a job to him, it is fun for him.” Mr. Wright has been in Elder’s press box being the stadium’s PA announcer for the past 40 years. To find out more information about his illustrious career, I went to the legend himself. CB: “How did you get started doing the PA for the Panthers?” DW: “My father-in-law was Bill Kolkmeyer. He knew I had a BFA degree from UC and was calling the races at Turfway Park (then Latonia Race Track). He asked me if I would be interested in filling in on the PA for Elder football; I said I’d try it and 40 years later I’m still here.” CB: “What is the greatest game you have ever called?” DW: “I can’t really say I can recall one particular greatest game but some of my favorites were the Thanksgiving Day games against West High, especially when they played it down at Riverfront Stadium.” CB: “What is you fondest memory from calling the games?” DW: “Fondest memories are many, but the first year; the 9-0-1 team and 8 shutouts is huge, the ’02 and ’03 State Champions are great; and for me going on to the field before each game to check the lineups and interacting with the coaches from both schools and the players, is very meaningful.” CB: “Has being a PA announcer taught you anything?” DW: “Being a PA announcer I learned that if you remember you’re not a play-by-play guy or color commentator you will be just as effective and do a better job. I believe in the KISS system (Keep It Simple Stupid).” CB: “What is one thing, if any, that will stick with you from being a PA announcer for Elder?” DW: “Even though I came in as an outsider, I now bleed PURPLE. Also the many members of the Elder family I’ve personally met, and those thousands of others who only know my voice. All these welcomed me into the Elder family.” Though a replacement has not yet been named for Wright, whoever takes his place will have big shoes to fill. With two more home games left this season, let us try to celebrate Wright and his contribution to the Elder football program. Be sure to scroll down below this article to watch and listen to the video of Denny from the St. X game last Friday night.