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Deckerhoff retiring as FSU’s voice

The voice for generations of Florida State fans is retiring.

Gene Deckerhoff will broadcast the FSU spring football game on April 9, his final call after more than four decades in the booth as the voice of the Seminoles in football and men’s basketball. Deckerhoff, who will turn 77 in May, is in good health but has a desire to retire and travel.

“It has been a lifetime of great moments — great players, great coaches, great games, great memories, and most of all great Seminole fans,” said Deckerhoff. “A life’s work that reads like a bestselling novel played out on the radio. I have been blessed. Thank you, FSU.

“I will finish my commitment to the Buccaneer Radio Network and who knows maybe broadcast another Super Bowl.”

A Jacksonville native and Florida graduate, Deckerhoff has been FSU fans’ connection to basketball since 1974 and football since 1979. He also hosted coaches’ shows for FSU’s coaches and has been the voice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1989.

Deckerhoff’s energy resonated for generations of fans, many of whom could not watch games in the days before college football was widely televised and some still lower the TV volume to listen to him and analyst William Floyd. His trademark, “Touchdown, FSU!” was called 2,175 times and he has also called 1,111 Bucs touchdowns.

He famously juggled his schedule through the years, often broadcasting FSU games on Saturdays and Bucs games on Sundays. Deckerhoff called three national championship wins for FSU in football as well as a pair of Super Bowls.

Deckerhoff worked alongside four FSU football coaches as well as five FSU basketball coaches. He was also a key piece in the early days of the Seminole Boosters’ tour with coach Bowden, which began with just a few stops and grew into a statewide tour.

Statement from FSU on Deckerhoff

Gene Deckerhoff, the Voice of the Seminoles for 43 years, has announced that he will retire following his radio broadcast of FSU’s spring football game on April 9.  Deckerhoff is a bona fide legend in broadcasting and among the most heralded and beloved announcers in the history of college and professional sports.

Among a staggering list of awards and honors presented to Deckerhoff is the 2013 National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame’s Chris Schenkel Award, the prestigious Lindsey Nelson Award for broadcasting excellence in 2015 and the Woody Durham – Voice of College Football Award presented by the National Sports Media Association.  In 2019, he accepted the George Langford Award for a Lifetime of Service to Florida State University presented by the Seminole Boosters Board of Directors along with close friend Coach Bobby Bowden.

“It has been a lifetime of great moments—great players, great coaches, great games, great memories, and most of all great Seminole fans,” said Deckerhoff.  “A life’s work that reads like a bestselling novel played out on the radio. I have been blessed. Thank you FSU.

“I will finish my commitment to the Buccaneer Radio Network and who knows maybe broadcast another Super Bowl.”

Deckerhoff, 76, began calling Seminole men’s basketball games in 1974, assumed FSU football play-by-play duties in 1979, and added his role as play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1989.   He has called 529 Seminole football games and over 60 percent (1,324) of the Noles men’s basketball games.  By his own count, Gene has uttered his signature “TOUCHDOWN FSU” 2,218 times. 

In 2000, Deckerhoff was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and two years later was inducted into the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame.  The Florida Community College Activities Hall of Fame tabbed Gene for induction in 2004. He has been named Florida Sportscaster of the Year by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association 14 times. And for 18 consecutive years was named the Best Play-by-Play Announcer in Florida by the Florida Sportscasters Association. He received the Circle of Gold medal from Florida State University for outstanding service to the university.

“I don’t think I can put it any better than Gene Deckerhoff is FSU,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford.  “We are so honored that one of our most visible ambassadors has been a person with unsurpassed expertise, unique talent, boundless enthusiasm and a personality that so perfectly reflected Seminole athletics. 

“Our fans genuinely love Gene.  He is one of the most endearing figures in college athletics and it is truly remarkable to see him interact with fans from both teams.

“He is one of kind and thank goodness for the last four decades he was ours.”

Gene and Ann are the parents of three boys – Emerson, Dennis and Eric –  and six grown grandchildren.  Asked what he was looking forward to the most Gene said, “an extended off-season with more time with Ann.  We have missed 48 years of weekends and we look forward to traveling to our favorite places for longer vacations.  We will be attending FSU sports events as fans and dancing to the War Chant. 

“I hope to enjoy the rest of my life in Tallahassee until God tells me he needs another play-by-play announcer in Heaven. Go Noles!”

“Gene is a phenomenal broadcaster, and an even better person, and it’s been a privilege to know him on a professional and personal level for over two decades,” said Chris Ferris, LEARFIELD’s senior vice president of broadcasting. “He’s been a brilliant storyteller for FSU fans for over 40 years, bringing every aspect of the Noles’ game action and unforgettable moments to life through the microphone. Gene will definitely be remembered as a legend in many respects, and always a member of the Nole family.”

LEARFIELD is FSU Athletics’ multimedia rightsholder which oversees many aspects of the Seminoles’ broadcast operations. A national search will be conducted for Deckerhoff’s replacement in the coming months, and LEARFIELD will work directly with Alford and the athletics administration in selection of the Noles’ voice.