‘Hello, Dawg Fans!’: Lou Gellermann relishes UW memories
By Kirsten Johnson -
For decades, each game-day looked the same. The siren sounded, fans rose to their feet and the voice of Lou Gellermann (BA, 1958) echoed throughout Husky Stadium.
“Hello, Dawg Fans!” he’d cry out.
“Hello, Lou!” they’d heartily reply.
The game began.
“Boy was that a rush,” Gellermann said, his eyes lit up.
Now in retirement, Gellermann, 76, cherishes those old memories.
“When you’re sitting at the top of 72,000 people and they react to something you say or do, well, it’s moving,” he said.
While most students and faculty come and go over the years, Gellermann spent the better part of his life at UW. Long before his 40-year stint as the P.A . Announcer for Husky Stadium, Gellermann was a Communication student, a member of the men’s rowing team, as well as the men’s swim team. As a kid, he grew up just blocks away from campus near the Metro Theater.
These early days were some of the best times of his life. He recalls the old crew house, nestled beside the stadium jutting off the banks of Lake Union. He and his teammates would trek down in the earliest hours of morning for practice, just as the sun was rising.
“We lived at the boat house,” he said. “Slept out on the porch, hired our own cook, washed dishes, cleaned oars.”
Gellermann rowed for all four of his undergraduate years. In 1958, his team won the Moscow Cup in at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. To this day, he remembers the elation of winning the title.
“We were the underdogs, definitely,” he said. “When we won, it drew us closer together.”
Gellermann maintained decent grades but most of the time, he said, he was more fixated on rowing than classes. He recalls one faculty member in the department who, despite Gellermann’s love of crew, urged him to nurture his announcing skills.
“He was just real friendly and a good guy,” Gellermann said. “He really meant a lot to me. I was not very good at journalism. As a matter of fact, I didn’t care much about it and that’s a bad combination for a student to have.”
Gellermann’s first gig as an announcer was at Roosevelt High School, after he graduated from UW. His old professor would come to the games and the two would shoot the breeze together.
“He was the only professor that cared enough about me as a student,” he said. “That really touched me.”
Later, Gellermann landed a job as a press box announcer in 1964 at the U.S. Naval Academy. To prepare before games, he’d practice alone in the hallway of the pavilion, letting his voice resonate through the space.
“I’d practice the script that they’d give me so I was ready to go when we were under pressure,” he said.
In 1968, Gellermann received his job of a lifetime when UW Sports Director John Reid offered him a position in the press box to announce the internal public address football games and men’s and women’s basketball games.
By 1985, Gellermann took over the external public address job and in 1995 dropped his basketball position to become the Husky football announcer full-time until his retirement in 2008.
In his room hang UW memorabilia and an old crew photo. Now, he looks back on his Communication degree gratefully.
“The degree meant a lot to me,” he said. “I just loved that school.”