Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Voice inspires fans for 25 years over PA


His voice has echoed throughout Coleman Coliseum for 25 years. Bryant-Denny Stadium roars when he says, “First Down Alabama.” He’s announced live for crowds of 15,000 for basketball and gymnastics and as many as 100,000 screaming football fans. His voice is known; his name, Tony Giles, is not.

“I first got started PA announcing for basketball when Wimp Sanderson was the coach, and he was looking to create an additional home-court advantage in atmosphere,” Giles said. “He asked me to be the ringmaster, so that’s when it started. I’ve worked my way to the position over the years by working for the athletic department and eventually moving to Birmingham for radio and television.”

Giles started working in radio when he was 13 years old, while his father was a radio announcer. Although he was around people in the industry, he learned a lot of what he knows about announcing from his predecessor, Simpson Pepper.

“One of the things that Simpson Pepper was so keen about was to show everyone respect. It’s okay to have a home field and home court advantage. This is our place. And we want visitors to come in here dreading to play our teams, but we don’t want people to come in here and be treated rudely. That was the one thing to me that was so special about him. I think about him at every game.”

Being the voice behind one of the nation’s top football programs isn’t just about sounding good on gameday. It takes preparation, studying and practicing. There’s also certain words that must be avoided, but one of the toughest aspects of the job is pronouncing each name correctly.

“A person’s name is very important,” Giles said. “It is the badge that you wear. It’s the badge that I wear. And if I call somebody [on] our team or the [fan] in the stands, or a fan that is winning a prize, I want that to be right.”

One player who Giles admires the skills of, but admits has a name that can be challenging to announce is Alabama basketball’s freshman guard, Trevor Releford.

“Great player, he has a great upside and he’s played a great season,” Giles said. “But, the first time you try to say Trevor Releford and you try to do that with the inflection in the gym if you’re not careful, you can get a tangled up in the syllables. But we try to work all that out before the game.”

While Giles is a fan of the Tide, he said he realizes when he comes to work; he has to check in his allegiance at the door.

“When I’m not with my microphone, I’m as enthusiastic as any other fan. When Alabama’s on the road and I go to the game, or I’m watching a game on TV, I’m just another Alabama fan,” Giles said. “But when the microphone is present, the job is on. It’s just putting on your game-face and knowing that you have a job to do.”

Giles said if he had to choose his favorite game to have announced over the course of his career, it would probably be Alabama’s first win over Auburn in Bryant- Denny Stadium. But he also mentioned that he loves them all.

“There’s so many,” Giles said. “It would be like trying to choose your favorite child if you had a bunch of children. Which game is your favorite? Which player is your favorite? I’ve enjoyed all of them.”


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