Stan Torgerson

Stan Torgerson's accomplishments in life were numerous. He was active in many different organizations, many of which were aimed at athletics and Mississippi athletics. His tenure as Mississippi's Heisman Trophy Chairman was one of his crown's jewels.

The passing of Stan Torgerson, former radio voice of the Ole Miss Rebels, has evoked fond memories of the large man with the big voice. Most Rebel fans know of his signature call--"Heeeeee Sccooooreeess!," but many may not know of the extraordinary life and times of Stan The Man.

Stanleigh "Stan" Torgerson was born on May 25, 1924 in Madison, Wisconsin. He played tackle for Central High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and lettered in football. He played one season of college football for the Minnesota Gophers in 1942, but left to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Stan served his country as a torpedoman and was stationed overseas at Adak in the Aleutian Islands. He was in the Navy from January 13, 1943, until March 31, 1946. He transferred to the Armed Radio Services for his last 6 months of service and it was during this time period that his radio career became set in stone. After his honorary discharge, he was hired by KGLO in Mason City, Iowa, as a disc jockey and sports announcer. From the fall of 1946 through 1949, Stan worked as color analyst for the local high school games and for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team. He met and married his wife of 59 years, Dorothy Anderson, in 1947.

In 1949, he was hired by WLCX in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where he was program director and sports announcer. He once again covered high school athletics and the LaCrosse State Teachers College football games. He called the Cigar Bowl in Tampa, Florida, during this time period. One year later, Stan was hired as station manager and sports announcer by WBIZ in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

At Eau Claire, Torgerson worked as play-by-play announcer for high school and college athletic events. He was also the voice of the Eau Claire Bears, a minor league farm team of the Milwaukee Braves. Milwaukee brought in Hank Aaron, and Stan called the first home runs the legend ever hit in organized professional baseball. The two icons stayed in touch through the years.

In 1954, Stan moved to Memphis when he was hired by WHBQ to handle Memphis State football and Memphis Chicks baseball. The Chicks were the farm club of the Chicago White Sox and Torgerson would soon call the exploits of another baseball hall of famer, Louis Aparicio. Stan called Memphis Tiger games from 1954-55.

A sponsor in Memphis wanted Stan to call Ole Miss football games and had Torgerson switch to WMC. He called Rebel games from 1955-56 after being named manager at WMC and discontinuing his regular everyday on-air duties. During this time span, Stan took up basketball officiating and worked 12 years as an official. He was picked to officiate the Memphis High School Championship game and he served two terms as President of the Mid-South Basketball Officials Association.

Stan continued to run WMC, call Rebel games, and officiate hoops games in Memphis until 1966, when he was hired by WQAM in Miami, Florida. Stan continued to officiate in Florida, but he only stayed in Miami for one year as he was hired in 1967 to be the manager of KCBQ in San Diego, California. After gaining valuable expertise in the business, Stan had a hankering to own his own station. At the same time, Ole Miss athletic officials had contacted Stan to return to the radio booth.

In 1967, Stan began his second run as the Voice of Ole Miss athletics on the radio as he commuted to Mississippi to call the games. From 1967 to 1973, he called Rebel football, basketball, and baseball games and helped created the Ole Miss football TV show in 1968. He finally made the move back to Mississippi as owner of WQIC in Meridian. During this time, Stan called the Ole Miss baseball team's 1972 appearance in the College World Series under head coach Jake Gibbs. During the same year, he emceed the Johnny Vaught retirement banquet which featured an appearance from Alabama head football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

In 1973, when Ken Cooper was hired to coach Ole Miss football, Cooper wanted his own person to handle the football chores, so Stan left the gridiron and stayed with the basketball team. In 1978, when Steve Sloan was hired as head football coach, Stan was asked to return to football duties and he remained Voice of the Rebels until 1984. In all, Stan had 17 seasons of calling Ole Miss basketball games and 15 years of handling the football broadcasts--a total of 462 Rebel hoops games and 176 football contests.

Stan recalled that his favorite moments calling Rebel football included the 1969 win over Tennessee in Jackson by a score of 38-0 as the Rebels were led by Archie Manning in the infamous Steve Kiner "Mule" game. Another favorite was the 1983 victory over Mississippi State by a 24-23 score as State kicker Artie Cosby's last second field goal attempt for the win was blown back by the wind, a moment known as the "Immaculate Deflection." Stan's favorite basketball moment was the Rebel win over the Georgia Bulldogs featuring Dominque Wilkins in the 1981 SEC basketball tournament in Birmingham, Alabama.

Stan was always fondly remembered by Rebel fans. In the 1970's a group of Ole Miss students even formed a club in his honor sanctioned by the school which became known as Stan's Fans. The group of Rebel students routinely shouted "Hi! Stan!" to Torgerson prior to tip-off of home Rebel basketball games.

Upon his departure from the booth, Stan soon sold his radio stations in 1990 and worked as a senior reporter for the Meridian Star for five years. He also wrote a syndicated column including a regular appearance in the Ole Miss Spirit. In 1997, he was hired by WTOK-TV in Meridian where he worked as a senior contributing reporter. He retired on his 82nd birthday on May 25, 2006. In 2005, Stan was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour as associate chairman of the Mississippi Athletic Commission which is the governing body for all boxing and wrestling events in the state. He continued to serve as a Heisman Trophy Elector, a position he had held since 1985, and he was Chairman of the Mississippi Heisman Trophy Committee since 1993. Torgerson was re-appointed chairman in 2005 for the 12th consecutive year.

Until his death, Stan continued to write weekly sports columns for two daily newspapers and a monthly wine column plus contributing articles to the Ole Miss Spirit. Stan was also an accomplished stage actor and a longtime member of the Meridian Little Theater where he served on the Board of Directors from 1985-86.

The passing of Stan Torgerson, coming on the heels of his friend, the late Johnny Vaught, marks the end of a Rebel athletic era on the field, on the court, and in the broadcast booth.

Here is a list of Stan's achievements, awards, and community involvement:

•Born: May 25, 1924, Madison, Wisconsin, Died on June 26, 2006, Meridian, MS.

•Two-time President of the Mid South Basketball Officials Association.

•LaCrosse State Teachers football play-by-play, 1949, WLCX, LaCrosse, WC.

•Eau Claire Bears baseball play-by-play, 1950-53, WBIZ, Eau Claire, WC.

•Memphis Tiger football, Memphis Chicks baseball, Memphis Open Golf Tournament broadcaster, 1954-60, WHBQ, Memphis, TN.

•Ole Miss football play-by-play, 1955-56; 1967-1973; 1978-1984; helped create Ole Miss football TV show, 1968; emcee of numerous football banquets.

•Ole Miss basketball play-by-play, 1978-1985; emcee of Ole Miss basketball banquet for 16 years.

•Member of Board of Directors of Mississippi Broadcasters Association, 1970-71.

•Meridian Star reporter and columnist, 1990-94; Ole Miss Spirit columnist, syndicated, 1990 to 2006.

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