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Posted on Jan 21, 2016

Mike Benedict: A golden voice

Just before the tipoff of Saturday’s boys game between Quincy and Othello, a booming voice reverberated off the walls of the QHS gym.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mike Benedict called into his microphone, “it’s time for Jackraaaaaaaaaabit basketball!”

The Quincy High math teacher has been the voice of the Jacks and Lady Jacks hoop teams for the past eight years. He sits at the officials’ table for each home game, giving fans the lowdown on what they’re seeing on the court.

He does it with enthusiasm that makes people smile.

Benedict didn’t play basketball in high school because his school was loaded with outstanding players. He likes the sport, though, and enjoys being part of the show.

“I’m doing the job because it’s something I love,” said Benedict, who has been told he has a good radio voice.

Quincy High Assistant Principal Michael Carlson is an admirer of Benedict’s work.

“He has a golden voice,” Carlson said. “You’ll hear Mr. Benedict’s voice even better if we pass the bond.”

That was a reference to the Feb. 9 bond measure going before voters to renovate and expand schools in the district. Carlson said the new high school it would provide would have better acoustics than the current gym.

Benedict downplays the excitement he generates, saying, “I’m there to give information. The cheerleaders are there to fire up the crowd.”

He admits being nervous when he began announcing games. But that disappeared soon enough, and now he’s comfortable in the role.

He listens to other sports announcers, trying to find some things he can add to his repertoire while avoiding the routines that some big names use. He’s not excited about announcers who try to draw too much attention to themselves.

“It’s about the kids,” Benedict said. “It’s not about me.”

And it’s not just about watching a game and making casual comments. Benedict keeps his own statistics during a game so, when someone commits a foul, he can tell everyone how many fouls that player has and how many his or her team has.

But it’s his personable style that folks like. A few years ago, Benedict missed a game because he was coaching a youth team. At the next home game, a Quincy fan told him it just wasn’t the same without him on the mic.

Fans from other teams have mentioned that they enjoyed his contribution to the games, too.

One of Benedict’s most memorable introductions came at a Jacks game a few seasons ago. A Quincy player, Matt Medina, asked for a favor during the pre-game announcements. He wanted Benedict to introduce him and ask a QHS girl to go to the prom with him in the same breath.

“I thought, ‘Why not have some fun?’” Benedict said with a grin.

About five years ago, he announced a Quincy game at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee. Benedict said he was “absolutely terrified” at the start, but soon calmed down and relished the experience.

A parent handled QHS basketball announcing duties long ago. Then, for a period of years, no one took the microphone. Finally, Quincy Athletic Director Bill Alexander asked Benedict if he’d give it a try. He has no plans to give up the job.

“It’s a lot of fun, plus I have a good seat,” Benedict said.

— By Steve Kadel,