Little League fields in Ft. Walton Beach and Jacksonville, and
junior high and high school gyms around Jacksonville, Gene Deckerhoff
grew up around sports. As a kid he kept home made score cards
on baseball games broadcast over radio.
||He was honored as a Little
League All-Star, and named Basketball All-City as a senior at
Forrest High School in Jacksonville. His 32 points in a game
against Lake City HS was a school record that stood for several
years. As a freshman he was the starting point guard and second
leading scorer on the St. Johns River Junior College Vikings
basketball team that won the State Junior College Championship.
In 1966, while finishing
work on a Bachelors Degree in International Relations, Gene became
evening announcer at WGGG in Gainesville, Florida. He began his sports
broadcasting career at the station when WGGG needed "someone
who knew something about basketball" to broadcast high school
began his broadcasting career as a direct result of his sports
participation. WWPF – Palatka Program Director John Tilghman
was also the stations sports play-by-play announcer. He offered
Gene a job as a weekend announcer.
And in 1964,
Gene successfully passed the FCC License exam for broadcasters
and began working “behind the mike”. His first sports
assignment was as engineer/announcer of a little league all
star game in Palatka during the summer
After four and a half years in management and sales with Southern
Bell Telephone and General Foods Corporation, Gene re-started his
broadcast career at WTRL in Bradenton, Florida. He spent a year as
a weekend “part-time” announcer, then began full time
work at the station in 1972
as a DJ, account executive and sports announcer. His first football
broadcast was in the fall of 1972 when
he shared the play-by-play chores with News Director Dean Edwards.
WTNT-AM, Tallahassee, Florida was Gene’s next stop. He
became the basketball voice of Florida
State Univeristy in the winter of
’74 sharing play-by-play
duties with Ed Littler and became sole play-by-play announcer
Gene began his television career in September
1976 as the original Sports Director at
WECA (now WTXL) channel 27, an ABC affiliate in Tallahassee. He continued
to broadcast daily 2 minute radio sports shows on WGLF-FM in Tallahassee.
In January 1978, Gene
became co-sports director at WCTV-TV, channel 6, a CBS affiliate in
Tallahassee. In 1979 Gene
auditioned for the FSU Football Play-by-play job. Among the finalists
for the position was the late Tom Meese (ESPN)
Gene was named "Voice of the Seminoles" in the summer
of 1979, and his first broadcast of Seminole
play-by-play was in September when FSU opened the season against Southern
Miss. The 'Noles went undefeated during the regular season and played
in the schools first New Years Day Bowl vs Oklahoma.
"Voice of the Seminoles"
Gene began co-hosting the weekly "Bobby
Bowden Show". The program was produced by WCTV and aired state-wide
during football season.
In November 1983, Gene was named Director
of Electronic Media for Seminole Boosters Inc. His primary duties
were coordination of the Seminole Radio Network, and Executive Producer
of the Bobby Bowden Show, and subsequently "The Pat Kennedy Show".
He sold all advertising for the television programs, negotiated all
TV contracts with stations throughout Florida and in Atlanta, and
acted as talent on both shows. He also began producing "Great Moments
in FSU Football" with Burt Reynolds. The Great Moments Series debuted in the Fall of 1984, and
continued for 25 consecutive seasons.
During 1983-85 Gene was the play-by-play
"Voice of the Tampa Bay Bandits" of the USFL. Gene teamed with his
FSU color analyst Vic Prinzi for the three years the team and the
league were in business, broadcasting many memorable games coached
by Steve Spurrier.
The Bobby Bowden Show
"Great Moments in FSU Football" with
In 1990 and 1991,
Gene acted as host of the Ray Perkins/Richard Williamson Show on WTOG
Channel 44 in Tampa-St. Petersburg.
Gene started Gene Deckerhoff Productions specializing in sports play-by-play
announcing, and the production of television and radio commercials
and videos. Among his recent clients are Tallahassee Dodge Chrysler
Jeep, Garnet and Gold, and Toyota of Winter Haven. He has done work for Camping
World, Beef O'Brady's NAPA Auto Parts and EA Sports.
voice of the Florida State Seminoles, Gene has broadcast three national
championship football games – 1998,1999 and 2000. FSU defeated
Virginia Tech and their talented Freshman Quarterback Michael Vick
for the schools 2nd national title in 1999. During the 1990’s,
FSU was named a football dynasty by the NCAA, as the Seminoles won
more games (109) in a ten year period, than any school in NCAA history.
Gene worked for WTOG Tampa-St. Pete as Voice of the Tampa Bay Storm
and for Sunshine Network as Voice of the Orlando Predators –
both teams are members of the Arena Football League – for a
total of eight seasons.
In 2002, Gene
and his Buccaneer’s Radio Network teammates broadcast the most
successful season in Tampa Bay history, culminating in the Buc’s
Super Bowl XXXVII victory over the Oakland Raiders on January 26,
2003. With that broadcast in San Diego, Gene became the only “team
radio voice” to have broadcast a college championship and a
super bowl championship game for a winning team. During Gene’s
forty plus year broadcast career, he has accumulated numerous awards.
He has been named Florida Sportscaster of the Year
twelve times (more than any sports announcer in Florida) by the National Sportscasters and
Sportswriters Association. He received the prestigious
“Silver Medal Award” from the Tallahassee Advertising
Federation in 1991. Gene was judged “Best Play-by- Play”
Announcer (17 straight years-1979-1996) by the Florida Sportscasters
Association. The award has not been given since 1996.
Gene and PT get ready for
Bucs Super Bowl XXXVII victory
2000, Gene was inducted into the Florida
Sports Hall of Fame, becoming just the 4th sports broadcaster to be
enshrined in the FSHOF. In 2002, Gene
was named recipient of the Moore-Stone Award and inducted into the
Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Gene was also honored
by FSU with the Florida State University Circle of Gold Medal for
outstanding service to the university. In 2004, he was inducted into the Florida Junior College
Activities Association Hall of Fame.
Gene is the father of three sons and six grandchildren.
He and his wife Ann reside in Tallahassee.
It's a great day for a ball game!
Check out Gene's personal photo
Check out Gene's personal
Gene, Gene the sports machine