The Voice Of The Green Bears For Nearly 500 Games

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Anyone who has attended an Ottawa Hills home football or basketball game in the past 20-plus years has heard his voice over the loud speaker.

"Ladies and gentlemen. Good evening to you, and welcome to Ottawa Hills High School."

Dick Bing, the "Voice of the Green Bears" since 1994, said he has used that phrase "99 percent" of the time during his tenure as the announcer at the school's home boys and girls football and basketball games.

Asked how many games he has announced since Ottawa Hills Athletic Director Tim Erickson hired him in 1994, Bing uses simple math.

"I finished up my 23rd football season (in 2016)," Bing said. "For all intents and purposes, you do five games a year. We did six this year because of a quirk in the scheduling. In basketball, I'm just finishing up 19 years (as an announcer). There are 10 girls home games and 10 boys home games (each season), so that's 20 home basketball games per year. Just multiply that by 19."

Erickson said one of his tasks after being hired as the school's athletic director in 1994 was finding someone to replace Tom Davis as the Green Bears' football and basketball announcer.

"(Davis) had announced for a number of years," Erickson recalled. "At the end of that (1993) season he said it was time to step down. I started asking around and no one wanted to do it. I put an ad in the Village Voice looking for an announcer and Dick answered the ad. He came in and we chatted - and he's been here ever since.

"He's got a radio voice, a good announcing voice. He doesn't get real excited but he doesn't downplay anything. He is pretty steady and consistent with what he's announcing."

Bing has also announced some Ottawa Hills baseball games and track meets through the years.

"For anybody who knows him, he's a constant staple of Ottawa Hills athletics," Erickson said. "I'd be lost without him. He's reliable. He's consistent. You don't have to worry that something crazy or inappropriate will be said over the mic. You know Dick's going to be there and it's going to be professionally done and you don't have to worry."

Bing, who said he's old enough to be "retirement age," graduated from Columbus West High School and went on to play baseball and graduate from what was then known as Findlay College. He worked as a disc jockey and did some sports reporting at WFIN radio, a commercial station in Findlay, for a handful of years before going into a career in sales.

Bing said he doesn't remember what team Ottawa Hills faced during his first Friday night in the Bears' football press box in 1994.

"It could have very well been Gibsonburg," he said. "I was nervous to a degree. If I wasn't nervous, there was something wrong with me. You were dealing with a friendly crowd, so to speak. It was just a good feeling."

Bing said he never got too caught up in learning all the nuances of announcing. He just described what was happening on the field and on the court right in front of him.

"You're right there watching the action," Bing said. "Hopefully you're paying attention to the game and not trying to get laughs or side takes on people walking in the stands. If you've been around sports a bit, you have a general routine of what's going to happen. The game kicks off at 7:30 and you have the national anthem and you take the band into account. You want the starting lineups ... You kind of wing it, but generally it was in a time frame."

Bing and his wife, Lois, put their two children, Jeff (Class of 1999) and Erica ('04) through Ottawa Hills High School. Jeff played quarterback and wide receiver and certainly heard his dad's voice over the speaker during games. Dick said he never got consumed with trying to be perfect with his delivery.

"Honestly, you'd like to think everyone was listening to you," Bing said. "They weren't paying attention anyway, or maybe they were. If there are 1,000 people there, half of them are for the other team and they want to hear their child's name. They want to make sure it's (pronounced) right and it's clear. The kids out there playing want to hear their names pronounced correctly.

"I always made sure I went down on the field and (learned) the phonetics. I would ask the coach or whoever was available, maybe an assistant, to give me the phonetics of their players' names."

Bing said he enjoys announcing at Ottawa Hills because it makes him feel like he's "part of the pie," or part of an organization. He is, obviously, wrapped up in each game the same way that players, fans, referees, officials, scoreboard operators and broadcast teams are.

"Like a policeman, when you're doing your job nobody really notices," Bing said. "It helps to have a nice 'spotter,' one who has real binoculars and is familiar with the game."

Bing's wife used to be his spotter during games, but she turned that task over to Paul Helgren, who is also a University of Toledo assistant athletic director.

"I appreciate him," Bing said. "Lois was my spotter for a number of years. I would say to her, 'who made the tackle?' and she would point."

Bing had open-heart surgery in 2010 and swears he never missed announcing an Ottawa Hills football or basketball game. He said the surgery was performed in March, so he could fulfill his announcing duties.

"I have not set any date (to retire)," Bing said. "It's been a pleasure to represent the school."

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