It was nearly a decade ago that Dave Ceule arrived at Blue Springs South in search of a niche in the high school sports community.
He had bounced ideas around for a few years while considering a variety of coaching gigs. Nothing seemed to stick.
A short time later, Mark Bubalo, then activities director at South, approached Ceule with an offer to become the public address announcer at the football games.
“I had no experience,” Ceule said. “But I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’ ”
Ceule found his niche.
Nine years later, Ceule has been named the Bob Sheppard High School P.A. Announcer of the Year for 2012, a national award named in honor of the announcer at Yankee Stadium for 56 years.
“I didn’t even know much about him until a couple of years ago when I started getting a little more into announcing,” Ceule said. “To win an award in his honor — that’s pretty cool.”
Unbeknownst to Ceule, he has a style similar to the Yankees icon, who died in 2010.
Ceule announces football, volleyball and softball games during the fall and adds basketball games to his slate during the winter. He has a common approach to all of them — no catchy phrases, no signature calls and no special lines.
“Bob Sheppard once said that a P.A. announcer is not a cheerleader or a circus barker or a hometown screecher,” said Brad Rumble, the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers executive director, in a news release. “He’s a reporter. (That) philosophy, as simple as it was, is what guided our selections.”
Bubalo preceded Ceule as the school’s public address announcer before relinquishing the gig once he was hired as South’s activities director.
What separates Ceule from his peers, Bubalo said, is his preparation.
“He consistently prepares ahead of time to make sure he is organized for all of our games,” Bubalo said. “He gives us tremendous information as the voice of the Jaguars in a manner that is both professional and unique.”
Ceule has spent the better part of his free time this week getting ready for the annual showdown between rivals Blue Springs South and Blue Springs. The game will kick off at South tonight at 7 p.m.
Ceule writes out most of his talking points for the game beforehand, spending hours fine-tuning his scripts.
“I do look forward to games like this more, because it’s a more energetic crowd,” Ceule said. “It’s quite a bit more work getting ready for a game like this, but it’s worth it. It doesn’t feel like work. It’s not your everyday job.”
Of course, Ceule wouldn’t mind if announcing became an everyday gig. He has been selected to announce various Missouri State High School Activities Association events, including the state football championships in 2010.
And if the pros come calling, he promises he will be ready.
“There’s nothing I would love more than to work for a professional team,” said Ceule, who also teaches business and personal finance at South. “If that opportunity came up, it would be an honor and a privilege, and I’d jump at it.