Eddins: The voice of Panther football
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Every time the green-and-gold-clad varsity football players take the field at Pelham’s Ned Bearden Stadium, Greg Eddins knows he has an important job to do.
While he does not suit up in coaches’ gear or full pads, Eddins is fully aware his actions could play a vital role in the outcome on any given Friday night.
“It’s all about the success of the program,” Eddins said. “I’m naturally a football fanatic, so the excitement just comes naturally.”
For more than three years, Eddins has filled the air in and around the stadium with well-known phrases such as “This is Panther football,” and “Welcome to the most exciting place to be on Friday night,” often driving the home crowd into a frenzy.
Eddins’ tenure as the Pelham High School varsity stadium announcer is his latest stop in a lengthy tenure with nearly every level of local football in the area. After he was involved in coaching in Helena’s little league football program for several years, Eddins began announcing games for the city league and for Helena Middle School – both of which he is still involved with.
When Eddins’ son, Blane, now a 6-foot-1-inch offensive lineman, entered PHS three years ago, Eddins sought to bring his voice to the varsity level. After working out a deal with the previous announcer – who moved to doing the school’s radio announcing – Eddins took over PA duties on Friday nights.
Eddins is flanked in the press box by his spotters – Chris DiChiara and Jeff Adams – who call out players’ numbers as each play unfolds. More often than not, Eddins only has to look at the visiting team’s roster before announcing the play.
“I’ve known most of the (PHS) players since they were 7 or 8 years old,” Eddins said. “Most of the time I don’t even have to look at the Pelham roster. I can tell who the players are by the way they walk.”
Eddins said he and the other parent volunteers always look to make each home game run smoothly in an effort to allow the coaches to focus on what’s important.
“A lot of people don’t know what it takes to put on a 6A football game. It’s not just a bunch of kids out there playing football, it’s a production,” Eddins said. “The parents who volunteer their time do a great job. I would encourage any parents who are not involved in their kids’ athletics to get involved.”
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