Former Oak Mountain PA announcer Matthew Moyer named Thompson’s new play-by-play commentator

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – After the unexpected passing of Jerry Young in January, Thompson High School has chosen his successor at the Warrior Nation Network.

The school announced Matthew Moyer as the new play-by-play announcer for the Warrior Nation Network on Tuesday, April 16.

“I’m a little overwhelmed,” Moyer said. “It’s such an honor. When you look around the broadcast landscape, it’s one of the top play-by-play jobs in the state. It truly is. There’s Auburn and there’s Alabama and some other incredible universities and then Thompson’s right there with it.

Moyer was previously Oak Mountain High School’s public address announcer, serving as “The Voice of Oak Mountain” for Eagles sporting events, including football games at Heardmont Park.

“My wife and family and I prayed about it for a long time,” Moyer said. “I could not be more excited. The staff that they have in place is incredible, and so you’re stepping into a position that is set up for success.”

Moyer announced his last game at Oak Mountain High School the same day he was announced as Thompson’s new commentator. He said that working those Eagles baseball games against Hewitt-Trussville was difficult because of the relationships he had built and the love he has for OMHS.

“It was really tough,” Moyer said. “Oak Mountain’s been incredible to me and to my family over the last seven years. I’ve made some great friends and some great relationships and am absolutely more than willing to help them in any way that I possibly can with their next public address announcer. I think the world of the entire administration, (OMHS principal Andrew) Gunn and the athletic director Chris Blight and all of the coaches there have been wonderful all the way through. And so, it’s bittersweet.”

The process began shortly after Young’s unexpected death in January when Moyer reached out to Thompson head football coach Mark Freeman as a friend to support him during the grieving process.

The two have been friends for the last few years and have supported each other during that time, including last October when Freeman reached out to Moyer and told him he had bought helmet stickers for both Thompson and Oak Mountain to honor OMHS staff member Parul Jani, who passed away in a car accident earlier in the week that also severely injured her husband Nitin.

“Coach Freeman and I have had a really neat relationship over the last couple of years, which in and of itself is an incredible blessing, but after the news broke, I wanted to reach out to him and just let him know that our family had all of them in our thoughts and prayers, and it just kind of started a little bit of a conversation, at that point, very delicately because you want to treat it with respect,” Moyer said. “And at the same time, I wanted coach Freeman to know that if there were ever an opportunity that I would consider it an honor just to be included in the interview process.”

Moyer took solace in the fact that many people before him have switched schools within the county, including Gunn. That made it easier for him to take an opportunity he believed he couldn’t pass up.

“It just kind of progressed from there, had a chance to have breakfast with coach (Vincent) Pitts, their athletic director, got to meet with their superintendent, Dr. (Wayne) Vickers, a couple of times, who is just an incredible human being, and so, I would say over the last six weeks is when it’s really come together and then made official yesterday,” Moyer said.”

That didn’t make the decision to leave Oak Mountain easy after seven seasons as part of the community.

“This is just one of those opportunities that you just don’t say no, and you count your blessings and just really think about what’s in front of you,” Moyer said. “And again, looking at the team that they have in place, that is top to bottom just an incredible group of professionals. But Oak Mountain set the foundation for yesterday and where we are today, and I will be forever grateful to the Eagle family. I have cherished that time with that group.”

Part of the reason that Moyer viewed it as an unmissable opportunity was because of the standard that Young set with the Warrior Nation Network. Young announced many sports for Thompson as well as championship events around the state for the AHSAA.

While he knows he can’t replace Young, he is excited by the idea of succeeding him.

“No one’s ever going to replace Jerry,” Moyer said. “He’s a legend and set the benchmark for broadcasting at Thompson. But to be able to follow in those footsteps, it’s a gift from God. It’s just such an incredible blessing. I could not be more excited.”

Moyer will call play-by-play for football, basketball, baseball and some volleyball for the Warrior Nation Network, but he hopes to pursue broadcasting other women’s sports as well as potentially utilizing his emcee skills to host sports banquets.

After getting to know Pitts and the rest of the staff at THS, Moyer is excited to get to work with people he enjoys towards a long-term strategy and plan that excites him.

“We’ve developed a really neat relationship over the last couple of months and going forward, I work for him,” Moyer said of Pitts. “He’ll tell you that I don’t, but I work for him and I work for the Warrior family. I work for the Thompson family, but first and foremost I work for Vincent Pitts and just that in and of itself has me really excited. When you look at the staff that’s in that athletic office and what they’ve been able to accomplish together and some things that are coming down the road…they’re always looking forward. My wife Kelly and I have a 15-year old and a 12-year old and I tell our children all the time, ‘Don’t focus on the windshield, make sure that you’re looking out at the hood ornament on the car and maybe even down the road a little bit,’ and that’s exactly what Thompson does. And so that’s really exciting for me.”

Beyond everything, he is excited to bring games to a supportive Alabaster community that he has seen rally around the Warriors in many different sports while he called games for Oak Mountain.

“The thing that excites me the most is the energy around that entire community,” Moyer said. “Everyone thinks of Thompson and they immediately think of football, but when you look top-to-bottom at the coaches and at the programs and what those programs are doing and the way that their community comes out and supports each and every one of those, to me, that is just incredibly exciting.”

While Moyer struggled to find words to describe his emotions around joining the Warrior Nation Network, he came back to one feeling: gratitude.

“Just a heart full of gratitude for Oak Mountain and a heart full of gratitude for everyone at Thompson,” Moyer said. “Jerry is beloved and will always be and the idea of following in those footsteps is overwhelming, and it’s something that I’m really, really, really excited about. I wish I had the proper vocabulary to properly describe how blessed our family feels and how excited I am for this opportunity moving forward.”