VARDAMAN, Miss. (WCBI) — Visitors to Vardaman High School Rams sporting events may think the deep baritone voice announcing games comes with a grizzled old pro. But Rams fans know better. In this week’s Student Athlete of the Week, WCBI’s Jonathan Flippo introduces us the that voice and where it may one day take its young owner.
About a year ago, John Macon Gillespie was just another student walking the halls at Vardaman High. He was practicing to host a Junior Beta Club event when a coach heard his distinctive voice. The Beta Club event got cancelled but the coach wasn’t done. He asked Gillespie to announce a basketball game. The rest is history for the high school junior whose previous experience was limited to his own video game announcements.
“When I was little playing NCAA and Madden video games I’d mute the t.v. and stuff and do the announcing myself, so that’s why I’ve been kind of training for it ever since I was four or five years old,” said John Macon Gillespie.
The child of an avid sports family, the announcing gig has taken off. Gillespie now does all sports. His skills are a popular discussion item among friends and classmates and they’ve become some of his biggest supporters.
“They would love to see me you know go far with it like in a career or something to it,” said John Macon Gillespie.
And Gillespie agrees, listening closely to television pros for tips while working on his own style.
“The one probably announcer that I enjoy the most is probably David Kellum on Ole Miss radio, but on ESPN it would be you know like Kirk Herbstreit, Brad Nesslar, David Pollack and people like that. If i did work up that far i would really like to start out locally probably because you know i like to support local communities,” said John Macon Gillespie.
But for the straight A Honors student, it’s not just about announcing. He’s a History buff who finds lessons in the past.
“I think you need to learn from history in order to know what mistakes you know not to make in your life,” said John Macon Gillespie.
Head Football Coach Larry Gann and other coaches couldn’t be more pleased with their find, especially since he generates a new level of excitement for and among his classmates.
“He’s a young man with great character and that carries over into his ball games and how he calls the game. He’s very fair and gives the other teams their due as well. He’s not a full time homer. He just does a very professional job an for a home announcer that’s a challenge, but much less for a student to be able to do that and does a tremendous job with that he’s just a way ahead of his time to be honest with you,” said Coach Gann.
Gillespie’s family is from the area and they played sports there so John Macon’s roots run deep. Despite his local fame, he hasn’t lost sight of where he came from and who gave him the chance.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to Vardaman High School, the Administration, the Staff, the Coaching Staff for giving me the opportunity to be your voice and to support y’all,” said John Macon Gillespie.
In Vardaman with you Student Athlete of the Week, Jonathan Flippo WCBI Sports.