Patsy Pritchett calls herself a “sports widow.” Her husband, John Pritchett, is away almost every night of the week, and usually all day Saturday, too. The 81-year-old is the official announcer at Dallas ISD’s Kincaide Stadium. The Adamson graduate has called JV and varsity football games for the school district since 1975.
But it’s not just football. He announces DISD baseball games, basketball games, cross country meets and track meets, plus playoff volleyball and soccer. And that’s not all. He also calls the UIL cross-country and state track meets, the volleyball and baseball state tournaments and the football state championship game, plus all volleyball and basketball games at Northwood University in Cedar Hill. Oh, and then there are the state championship games in football, volleyball, softball and baseball for the Texas parochial schools league. On Saturdays during cross-country season, he arrives at 7 a.m. and sometimes is calling the last event at 11 p.m.
He started calling the Kimball Relays in 1964, when he was a teacher there.
“If I hold on, I’ll be in my 50th year announcing the Kimball Relays,” he says.
Pritchett got his start in sports announcing in the military, doing play-by-play for the Armed Forces Network. Later, he worked at a classical radio station, KDFW, in Cedar Hill, where he was program director until that station folded in 1958.
He started calling high school sports when the scheduled announcer didn’t show up for the Kimball Relays.
Coaches from South Grand Prairie and Sunset high schools, who were at that meet, asked Pritchett if he would call competitions at their schools. He soon became the go-to guy for high school sports announcing.
Pritchett keeps a thick spiral-bound notebook with dividers, where he maps out starters and their positions. The notebook contains team rosters, running scores, results and game notes, a treasure trove of hand-written high school game stats.
His passion for high school sports started when he was a kid growing up in Irving in the 1940s. He would take the bus to the old P.C. Cobb stadium, where the Infomart is now, to watch games.
“I just love it,” he says. “I’ve always loved high school sports.”
Pritchett weighed less than 100 pounds and was only 16 when he graduated from Adamson, so he never played in high school.
“I went out for football, but I wound up with a clipboard,” he says. “I got to call in the scores to the newspapers. So I wanted to be a sports writer.”
His work life mostly was dedicated to teaching, at Kimball High School for 10 years and then at Mountain View College for 20 years. But he did become a sports writer in 1996 when the Athens Daily Review and Cedar Creek Pilot hired him to cover high school sports, a job he held for four years.
Even though he never played on a team, Pritchett did run high school track, competing in the mile. His best time was 5:11, he says. He also has completed 15 marathons, including the 1978 Boston Marathon, and he’s a runner to this day, in training for the Arlington Turkey Trot.
The Pritchetts have two children and four grandchildren. They now live in a duplex in Arlington, next door to their daughter, Cathy, who is an administrator at UT Arlington. Their son, Billy, is also an announcer; his voice is so similar to his dad’s that people can’t tell them apart.
Pritchett has an outstanding memory for names, numbers and stats. He can remember players by name and number from decades ago. He knows how many future NFLers have played on the field at Sprague and Kincaide stadiums — 79 by his count. But that’s really just a novelty stat to him. He says he keeps up with college sports, but he has “quite a distaste” for pro sports. His passion is borne of Saturday-morning dew and Friday-night lights.
“As long as I’m healthy and the good Lord keeps me going, I’ll keep doing it,” he says. “I get excited for every game I do.”