Longtime Phoenix-area announcer, sports guru help bring Pat’s Run to life
TEMPE, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — Every year, Pat’s Run finishes at the 42-yard line inside Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Runners, joggers and walkers enter like gladiators through a tunnel at field level and as they cross the finish line, some even get the thrill of hearing their names echoing through the stadium.
And every year, that unmistakable voice belongs to Jeff Munn. The longtime public address announcer has provided the soundtrack to some of the biggest sporting moments in state history. “His voice is so good,” says Doug Tammaro, Arizona State’s Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations. “Diamondbacks, Sun Devils, Mercury, whatever ... if you’ve been in Arizona, you know his voice.”
Munn used to call Pat Tillman’s name and number in that very stadium. Now he congratulates those who complete the race in Tillman’s honor. “I’ve had more people come to me over the years and say, ‘you announced my name at Pat’s Run,’” Munn said.
Tammaro serves as Munn’s eyes and ears on race day. The longtime sports information guru arrived at ASU around the same time as Pat Tillman. “Never did I think it would get to this level, then I think, well, this guy was special,” Tammaro said.
When the race begins, Munn and Tammaro fire up a couple of laptops, flip on a microphone and get to work. “Everyone has the bib and they’re chipped-in and as they cross, get into the stadium, it starts to trigger these numbers that run across the computer screen,” Tammaro explained. “We can see immediately the bib number, the age, the name, the town,” Munn added.
“We have the ability with binoculars to spot somebody and say, ‘OK, that number, who is that person?’ And we type it in,” Tammaro said. Of course, not every one of the 20,000-plus names is called. “We will tend to look for people who are older and people who are very young,” Munn said.
For those who do hear their names as they cross the finish line, it makes a special moment that much better. “That’s what’s been so cool for me, is, I pick out younger kids now because every once in a while you’ll hear ‘Tillman Jones’ or Tillman Miller,’ and you go, ‘damn ... those parents, they did that right,” Tammaro said.
“This is the best thing I do with the gifts God has blessed me with all year,” Munn said. “It’s the state’s greatest day, I say that every year,” Tammaro adds. “It brings so many people together.”
Tap/click here for more on Pat’s Run, set for this Saturday, April 15.
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