PA Announcer for BYU Men’s Basketball Just Along for the Great Ride

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Resounding through the Marriott Center during the BYU men’s basketball games is a voice that gives the play-by-play, announces the starting lineup with passion and intensity and energizes the already hyped-up crowd.

But Trace Eddington is not one to take any glory for being the PA announcer at the games. In fact, he is just excited and honored to be able to watch great basketball and silently cheer on his favorite team.

“I’ve been doing it every year since 1998,” Eddington said. “In 14 years, I think I’ve only missed five or six games. I don’t think I missed a single home game in Jimmer’s career. I’ve seen a lot of great basketball.”

Eddington’s PA career started in the spring of 1998, when he saw BYU was hiring a PA announcer for both football and basketball, and decided to show up at the Marriott Center to audition. When the employers called him back to have a longer audition, he competed for the football announcer’s job against Kelly Newbold, but was instead given the basketball announcer’s position.

“I was a little disappointed, honestly,” Eddington said. “I really wanted football. But I went to basketball and realized I was sitting right here at midcourt. I really got excited about it and had a great time. Now if they would come to me and say I could only do one and ask which would I rather do, I think I’d choose basketball. It’s been so much fun.”

Perhaps the only drawback to his job is that he has to remain neutral, and can’t verbally cheer on the Cougars or disagree with an official’s ruling. He claims to bleed blue and be a true Cougar at heart.

“I want the Cougars to win every game,” Eddington said. “I went to my first game at LaVell Edwards Stadium the day my family moved to Utah. I’ve been to basketball games since the early ’80s and saw Danny Ainge. They’re my team. Always have been and I imagine always will be.”

Eddington’s voice has been filling up the Marriott Center through the entirety of Dave Rose’s tenure as head coach of the Cougars, providing added energy and emotion to the atmosphere of the Marriott Center.

“Watching at home is boring compared to what you can feel when you’re there,” said Bill Hoops, marketing director of BYU basketball. “The different aspects of the game have turned it into a really fun place. Trace is a big part of that. There’s a special feeling when you hear an announcer that you know you’re there. It can be a trademark voice. That’s Trace.”

Another aspect that helps fans and other attendees of the Marriott Center is that Eddington knows the game of basketball well and is able to tell the audience what is going on if there is a pause in the game or the officials are conferring.

“He’s able to run on the fly without a script,” said David Almodova, director of marketing for BYU athletics. “Trace can ad lib really good. That’s what makes him really great.”

Considering the important games played in the atmosphere of the Marriott Center, Eddington said he hopes people don’t even notice that he’s there, and instead focus on the great basketball.

“I don’t even notice it, to be honest,” said Eric Magleby, a longtime Cougar fan and Marriott Center attendee. “I’m so into the games, yelling and screaming.”

Great games and players have graced the Marriott Center’s basketball court. The 2010-2011 season is one that will stick out in Trace’s mind as one of the best-remembered seasons.

“There’s a lot of favorites,” Eddington said. “If I really had to pick one, it would be last year’s San Diego State game. That crowd, and that game, was so exciting. What happened afterward when the fans flooded the court — there were people I’ve never seen before coming up just wanting to shake my hand and high-fiving as they were going by. That one probably stood out to me as the best.”

Throughout the rest of this season, and in many seasons to come, the Marriott Center will be known as one of the elite venues of college basketball. Trace is just as excited as the fans to play a small part in the games.

“I want to tell the students that you are the best student section I’ve ever seen,” Eddington said. “Everyone talks about Cameron Indoor Arena at Duke. Their entire arena holds 9,000. We get upward of 6,000 just students. They have such an impact. They have to understand, and I hope they do, how much they can impact the game. It’s fun to be there. I”ll be sitting there and the hair on my arms will just stand up.”

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