“The Voice” is headed back to Wayland this fall.
No, it’s not the television show of spinning chairs and competing singers. Rather, it’s Hank Wilk, the former stadium announcer for football who will return to his chair in the press box this fall after an eight-year hiatus.
Wilk taught at Wayland High School from 1975-79 and again from 1992-2003. In the midst of his second term at WHS, the longtime announcer for Wayland athletics retired and Wilk was asked to take over basketball announcing responsibilities in 1999. He decided at that point to tackle the football responsibilities as well.
So Wilk took to the booth above the field in the WHS stadium and turned his love of football into something official.
At the time, Wilk said, announcing football games was a great way to better connect with students. He said many of the football players, cheerleaders and band members were students in his business classes.
It wasn’t long before those students dubbed Wilk, “The Voice.”
Wilt retired from WHS in 2003 and from his announcing duties in 2004, but his nickname lived on, and when Athletic Director Justice Smith needed to find a new announcer beginning with the 2012 football season, Wilk’s name came up.
“Mr. Wilk's name had been passed along to me in conversation,” Smith said. “I felt what better way to start a new football season then with a familiar voice.”
Smith said the nostalgia of Wilk’s voice from the press box will blend well with the connection current Wayland athletes have to the school’s former athletes.
“We feel our athletes have a lot of gratitude to our athletic past,” Smith said. “It is a bonus to have one of our originals come back and join us for new and exciting year. It is an honor to have the original ‘Voice’ of Wayland sports back in the press box for the upcoming sports season.”
Wilk said it didn’t take much convincing on Smith’s part to bring him back to the press box.
“I enjoy it, first of all,” Wilk said. “It’s a good way to get more involved in the high school sports. And it’s kind of flattering.”
Wilk said announcing a football game is quite different than simply watching a game. He spends his time honed in on the offense, while a spotter pays attention to the defensive side of things.
While he must keep his announcing sportsmanlike and unbiased, Wilk admitted that he does get a “little more excited when Wayland does something good.”
Wilk said he also recognizes the home team by referring to them as the Warriors, while the visiting team is referred to by the school name.
The veteran announcer had a prior commitment that will keep him from announcing the first home game of the season, but he will return to his post with the second home game on Sept. 21 against Monument High School.
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