By Greg Gulas
The 2013 football season will mark the 25th consecutive year that Bob Hannon has broadcast YSU football games from his familiar catbird seat, high atop Stambaugh Stadium.
He’s witnessed the highs and lows of the program over the past quarter century, conveying all of the action to its many loyal fans — including all six title game appearances and four Division I-AA championship victories.
Having broadcast all but one of YSU’s 33 FCS playoff games and 286 of the past 288 contests, he notes that recent additions to both staff and roster could make 2013 a most interesting season.
Addressing the Curbstone Coaches at their weekly Monday meeting, Hannon said that head coach Eric Wolford’s recent staff addition of former Kansas coach and New Castle native Mark Mangino should reap immediate benefits.
He also added that spring practice, which begins today, will be critical in establishing a foundation for the upcoming season.
“There is no question in my mind that coach Wolford is the right man for the job. He’s gutted the program over the past three years and is building it back up, piece by piece and his way,” Hannon said. “The commitment that administration has made to the program, the dollars they have invested and the new Watson and Tressel Training Site (WATTS), which is one of the very best around, should start paying dividends. This could be the beginning of a long playoff run for the Penguins.”
There are four new coaches on the Penguin staff this year and like the players, they will use the spring in order to get to know each other by working together.
“Shane Montgomery is a great offensive coordinator, but needs help. Mangino won a national title while at Oklahoma as an assistant coach and won a BCS bowl game while at Kansas, so he can really coach,” Hannon said. “It is my opinion that Shane and ‘Bear’ will take the offense to a new level.”
Hannon added that offensively, YSU should hold its own with any team.
“We have all of the weapons offensively and our defense has improved, but special teams play has let us down and that is the big reason we’ve stayed home in the post-season,” Hannon said. “This year’s recruiting class includes five defensive linemen that are quick and can keep pressure on the quarterback.”
Formerly the sports director at WYTV, Channel 33, Hannon currently serves as president and chief executive officer of United Way of the Mahoning Valley.
Hannon has worked alongside six color analysts; Steve Sefner, Mike McGlone, Paul McFadden, John Batcho, Dick Hartzell and Ed Muransky.
“Each color analyst brought a unique perspective to the broadcast and with Ed now leaving to devote more time to his business interests, I am really going to miss working with him,” Hannon said. “With all of the things that he has going on business-wise, he still found the time to attend practices two or three times a week. He had a binder of information thicker than some encyclopedias and was always prepared.”
Hannon’s next broadcast partner has yet to be determined, according to YSU sports information director Trevor Parks.