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At The Meadows with Roger Huston

Roger Huston has been the announcer at The Meadows in Washington, PA since 1976. Many may not recognize the name, but surely would recognize his familiar “AT the Meadows!” call. Many more remember him as the voice of Pitt football during some of the greatest times in Panthers history.

Huston was the public address announcer at Pitt Stadium from 1976 to 1982, which included the Panthers’ national championship season in 1976. Huston had unique ways of announcing the Panthers, such as Dan MaRRIno, with a rolling R, but his most famous announcement was undoubtedly when he would shout out, “Tackle made by number 99, HUUUGH… Green.” PSR’s Steve Flinn met with Huston in the announcers booth at The Meadows a few hours before a late May post time.

PSR: Talk about your memories of Pitt football.
I have nothing but fond memories for Pitt. As a matter of fact, some of my best memories of Pitt are at least as fond as some of my best memories from The Meadows. I can say I was there at Pitt Stadium in the heyday of Pitt football.

PSR: How did you come up with some of the unique ways of pronouncing players’ names during games, including one of the greatest players to play college football, Pitt defensive lineman Hugh Green?
I knew I would be saying Hugh Green’s name a lot, but when I tried to come up with a catchy way to say “Hugh Green” I drew a blank since it was such a simple name. Then I remembered years ago I was watching Boog Powell play baseball and when he got up to bat, the crowd said “BOOOOOG” so I thought I could do the same with Hugh Green. So when he made his first tackle, I said “tackle made by number 99, HUUUUUGH… Green” and the fans went wild. One of the proudest moments of my life was at the Dapper Dan Awards when they introduced Hugh Green, and the moderator said, “Introducing number 99, HUUUUUGH… Green.” To know that I was the one that started it all, that’s one of those fond memories when I talk about Pitt.

PSR: How did you use experience as a horse racing announcer to become a football announcer at Pitt Stadium
Dean Billick, one of Pitt’s athletic directors, came out to The Meadows one late-summer night in 1976 and I was announcing the races. Now we weren’t even in September, and he said to me, “I think we’re going to be the national champions this year, and we gotta make a change [at the mic] and I want you to be the new voice at Pitt Stadium.” So because he showed up at the Meadows that night, I got to be the announcer at Pitt Stadium and the rest is history.

PSR: Why did you leave the announcers’ booth at Pitt Stadium
Everything was going fine, but then Pitt, and really all of college football, started playing night games, and games on weekdays and days and times other than Saturday afternoons. I didn’t feel it was right to ask off on race nights at The Meadows to announce the Pitt games, and also I didn’t want to jeopardize my job at The Meadows, especially since I wasn’t really that tenured at that time, so I had to leave Pitt. Some people still think I left Pitt because of the PA announcer [Don Ireland] that did the E-I-E-I-O thing during the Pitt-West Virginia game [Ireland said, ‘There’s a tractor in the parking lot with its lights on; West Virginia license plate number E-I-E-I-O”], but that wasn’t me. I think I was already gone a few years by then.

PSR: Do you ever get any compliments about your announcing days at Pitt Stadium
The most-interesting compliment I got happened shortly after I started there. I just moved up from Florida in 1976 and I was looking for a dentist in the area and found one in McMurray. I made an appointment, and there I am getting my teeth cleaned with a mouth full of cotton, so I can’t talk, and I’m listening to him tell me how much he is a rabid Pitt fan. He started talking about the new announcer at Pitt Stadium and how he brought life to the building. He didn’t know who I was. He didn’t even know the name of the new announcer. He’s still my dentist to this day and we joke all the time about that. He says, “Thank God I liked you.”

PSR: How about some of your best memories from The Meadows?
In 1979 a jockey named Herve Filion drove his horse to a major upset. He came back in the winners circle and was standing on the sulky seat like a Roman driving a chariot. The crowd went bananas – they never saw anything like that before and neither did I.

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