Hill to step down

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Long-time University of Kansas athletics public address announcer Howard Hill will retire his post after Saturday's men's basketball game against Texas Tech. He will be replaced by Hank Booth, KU officials announced Tuesday.

Hill, in his 21st year as the Jayhawks' football and men's basketball public address announcer, began his association with KU in the spring of 1982, with his first duty coming at the 1982 spring football game.

"It's been a great ride," Hill said. "I've enjoyed every minute of it. I gained a tremendous amount of excitement from doing something I never thought I'd have the chance to do. Working with the bench crews in both sports and with all the great KU staff members over the years is something I'll never forget. I always tried to do a good job, and I couldn't have done it as well without the support of those great people."

"I've felt a real bond with the fans over the years," Hill added. "I think I've always reflected their enthusiasm and their love for KU, and I've tried to play off of that."

"Howard Hill is one of the best public-address announcers in the country," KU Director of Athletics Lew Perkins said. "We hate to lose him. In fact, we asked him several times if he is sure he wants to retire. Howard personifies class at the microphone. He always understood perfectly the role of a P.A. announcer. We will miss him announcing at the games, as I know all Kansas fans will."

Hill indicated that in his retirement he looks forward to embarking on some photography projects, writing poetry and traveling across the state and the country.

Booth, who has served has Hill's backup and as the announcer for the KU Marching Band for the past decade, has spent nearly his entire professional life in the radio business. He began calling high school football games as a teenager, and he has worked in news, sports and sales while in radio. In 1972 he became the General Manager of Lawrence radio station KLWN/KLZR, and served in that role until last December, when he took a job as Executive Director of the Kansas Wildscape Foundation.

"If I do half as good a job as Howard Hill did the past 21 years, then KU athletics will have a great new announcer," Booth said. "The man who has occupied that seat for the last 21 years is a true gentleman who brings excitement to the game while always showing proper respect for the game, the coaches, the players and the fans."

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