COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — This past weekend, Ohio State University announcer Bob Kennedy died at the age of 59. But his legacy in central Ohio lives on through those who knew the ‘voice of the Buckeyes.’
Kennedy’s playful, booming voice echoed throughout Ohio Stadium for more than 20 years on football Saturdays. His exuberant tone blended in with the roars of the crowd and also led the cheers at times.
“Bob was my mentor through and through,” said Matt Leininger, public address announcer Ohio State basketball and Huntington Park. “Bob showed me you can have fun. It’s OK to be a fan while being an announcer.”
That word, fun, defined how Kennedy approached his craft.
“Wherever Bob was, I think he was just in the moment and just enjoyed it so much,” said Nick Wiget, public address announcer for the Cincinnati Bengals and FC Cincinnati.
Kennedy was also a PA announcer for Ohio State baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, women’s hockey, men’s and women’s volleyball and swimming and diving. In addition, he regularly filled-in for men’s basketball games and was also a PA announcer for his alma mater Otterbein and the Columbus Clippers.
“What you hear is what you get with Bob,” Leininger said. “There was so much love and so much enthusiasm and so much fun in his voice. That was inspiring.”
Kennedy was part of the fabric of Ohio State athletics, especially his signature ‘Heads up Fans!’ bellowing throughout the Shoe. But he never made the game, or moment, about himself.
“The good PA announcers are the ones you hear their voice and they add to the game, but you’re not overbearing and taking the game over. That was Bob,” said Matt McCoy, an iHeart Sports Network anchor.
Bob Kennedy will be remembered for his big voice, but above all, his big heart and love for central Ohio athletics, which he narrated for a generation of fans.
“You probably never saw his face until recently, unfortunately, and that’s too bad,” said Johnny Hill, a traffic reporter for iHeart Radio Columbus. “He was kind of a shy guy, but his voice was not. I don’t know if you’ll remember the smells of the baseball field or the football game, but you’ll always remember his voice.”