Lou Gellermann (’58) and his iconic greeting “Hello, Dawg fans!” to go down in Husky history

Lou Gellerman 250x250Ask a diehard Husky sports fan who Lou Gellermann (B.A., 1958) is and the response will likely involve the phrase, “Hello, Dawg fans!” Gellermann coined the greeting while announcing a UW basketball game, before using it for 22 years as the external public address announcer at Husky Stadium.

“While I have never met Lou, I feel like I know him,” said Eddie Pasatiempo, former President of the UW Alumni Association and 2011 Department of Communication Alumni Hall of Fame member. “Being a long-time Husky football fan, his signature introduction as Husky PA announcer, “Hello, Dawg fans!” is an indelible memory of my Husky football experience. His voice, the siren, and the teams that competed over the years help create the legacy, tradition, and spirit of Husky football.”

Long before his days of employment at the UW, Gellermann was a Communication student. He rowed on the UW crew team during all four of his undergraduate years, and was also a member of the men’s swim team. In 1958, the crew team lost the Moscow Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in England; however the Soviets confidently invited them to compete again in front of their home crowd in Moscow, where the Huskies attained one of the greatest rowing victories in UW history. Gellermann was also a member of the U.S. Men’s Rowing team at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy.

“As a student athlete, as the voice of Husky football on game day, Lou connected UW and UW athletics to the community,” Pasatiempo said. “His talents, love for the UW and the education he received combined to deliver a lasting legacy and made a positive impact to those who were lucky enough to enjoy his decades of being a PA announcer for the Huskies.”

Gellermann’s first announcing job after graduating college was at Roosevelt High School, a short distance away from where he grew up on Brooklyn Avenue. After some time at the U.S. Naval Academy coaching crew and announcing, Gellermann returned to his home turf to become the press box announcer from 1968 to 1985 for UW football games and men’s and women’s basketball, eventually replacing Wendell Broyles as Husky Stadium’s public address announcer in 1986.

“There were times when we were in an upbeat tempo and I was announcing, and they were throwing it back and forth, I just felt like I was alive,” Gellermann said. “I loved putting on a show.”

Gellermann’s voice echoed through the stadium during the leadership of five Husky football coaches, including Don James from 1975 to 1992.

“I loved his voice and I thought it was perfect to announce Husky football,” said James, who led the Huskies to 178 wins in 18 seasons and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Gellermann also influenced the players with his impactful announcing.

“Everyone that I have heard speak of Lou was in a very positive and admiral light,” said Greg Lewis, former UW athlete and 1990 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, who also played professionally for the Denver Broncos for two years. “He is well loved by the UW community and I think that is his lasting legacy. Generations of Husky fans have heard him welcome us to Husky Stadium where he has added immeasurably to the outstanding game day atmosphere.”

Having worked closely with UW athletics for several years, Lewis added that Gellermann has represented UW football and the entire Department of Intercollegiate Athletics with class, professionalism, dedication, and loyalty.

But possibly even more reputable is Gellermann’s report with the fans. Zachary Sokolik has been going to Husky games since he was 10 years old with his brother and close friends, and said one of his first memories of Husky football and being at Husky Stadium is the voice of Gellermann. He created a Facebook page to “Bring Back Lou Gellermann One More Time,” in hopes to hear the iconic “Hello, Dawg fans” in the new Husky Stadium – even if it’s just a recording.

“It still gives me chills to hear a recording of Gellermann saying that,” he said. “Although the players that don the purple and gold change over the years, Lou Gellermann represented, for almost my entire life as a Husky fan, a constant, welcoming, and unifying voice. He was not just the voice of Husky Stadium, my favorite place on Earth, but the voice of Husky fans.”

Sokolik said he and his friends often greet each other by saying, “Hello, Dawg fan,” and that Gellermann was not a “rah-rah” cheerleader, but rather accomplished a lot with a less-is-more approach.

“His greeting alone was enough for him to forever leave a mark on every Husky fan that heard him. “Hello, Dawg fans!” are perhaps the three most iconic words in Husky football,” he said. “Nothing gives Husky fans goose bumps like hearing Lou say it. Nothing got Husky fans more energized and pumped up than Lou’s welcoming.”

Gellermann retired in 2007 after his hearing started to fade, ending his more than 50 year stint as a UW student, athlete, and announcer. Taking his place was Eric Radovich, who served as the PA announcer for UW women’s basketball for almost 20 years, along with other announcing jobs at the Bank of America Arena and with the Seattle Mariners.

“It’s big shoes to fill,” Radovich said during an interview with Husky athletics before starting the position in 2008. “I mean Lou isn’t just the voice of Husky Stadium for the past 20 years, he’s a Husky legend… I hope someday I’ll be as revered as Wendell and Lou. I know that is going to take some time. I’m hoping that over the years I can build that kind of admiration.”

While agreeing that “Hello, Dawg fans” will always be Gellermann’s, Radovich hopes to have his own welcoming phrase be remembered for generations to come.

Lou Gellermann is a 2013 inductee to the UW Communication Alumni Hall of Fame.