Wildcats lose ‘voice’ Chris Graham | NevadaAppeal.com

Wildcats lose ‘voice’ Chris Graham

by Anne Hansen
Western Nevada College
Western Nevada College Wildcatsí play-by-play announcer Chris Graham broadcasts a college baseball game at John L. Harvey Field in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 11, 2014.
Cathleen Allison | Nevada Photo Source

Western Nevada College’s highly regarded baseball team has lost its voice. Chris Graham, the longtime voice of the Wildcats, won’t return this season to broadcast WNC baseball games over the Internet. The three-time Scenic West Athletic Conference Broadcaster of the Year has volunteered as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer for eight seasons. Now, a new job at the Nevada Legislature will not permit him the time to continue with his self-described passion. Commitment, preparation and professionalism are just some of the qualities that Graham brought to the broadcast booth.

“He has been a huge part of our success and we are sad to see him leave,” said Coach DJ Whittemore. “Without Chris’ commitment, I am not sure our program would be where it is today. He has lent us an air of professionalism and just made everyone involved feel ‘big time.’ We can’t thank him enough for his dedication.”

Whittemore credits Graham for helping bring acclaim to the program, as well as making it easy for fans to follow the Wildcats after the team’s initial season in 2006.

“Parents having the ability to listen to the games has helped our recruiting immensely. He is one of the top JC baseball announcers in the country and takes a lot of pride in knowing all the backstories for each opponent and certainly all the players,” Whittemore said. “Of course we wish him the best and hope to get him back in the press box some day soon.”

Since announcing his first Wildcat game in 2007, Graham has developed many followers, especially parents and relatives of team members who reside far from the Wildcats’ Carson City home.

“As a mom of a former Wildcat pitcher,” said one Internet listener, I can tell you that Chris was my eyes and ears while I listened in online to the games broadcasted. I can’t tell you how hard it was for my husband and I to not attend every game and cheer our son and the boys on. Chris magnificently stood in the gap and made us feel as though we were right there sitting in the stands.”

“Chris Graham is a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and well-informed sportscaster, one who calls the game in an interesting and spirited way and filled the air time with style,” said grandparents of a 2012 WNC baseball player.

“I am going to miss the players and coaches tremendously,” Graham said. Each and every year they became brothers to me. I am going to miss the road trips and the brotherly bonds that came with them.

“The fans, what can I say? They mean everything to me and keep me going. I love every single one of them, and it was an honor and privilege to bring the games into their homes, workplaces, cars and everywhere in between. I have been lucky to become close friends with a proud few and I will cherish those friendships for the rest of my life.”

Graham said his best Wildcat memories came during the 2010 and 2012 seasons.

“2010 because of all of the games that involved Bryce Harper and how the Wildcats were able to shut him down. He was known to be No. 1 pick from the beginning and the Wildcats didn’t care. The Wildcats swept four games from CSN when they were the No. 2 team (nationally) and basically a Division I team in the junior college ranks,” Graham said. “2012 because the team went to the World Series. That team had Dylan Baker and so much talent top to bottom; even the freshmen were great. I’ve seen the players from that specific team go on to outstanding college feats or get drafted.”

Graham said that becoming a professional baseball play-by-play announcer remains an enduring goal. He hopes to intern with the Reno Aces and hasn’t ruled out returning to work his favorite college team’s games at some point.

“The Wildcats aren’t out of the picture. Sometime when my career allows me, I’ll be back to do some games,” said Graham.

Whittemore said that the program has begun a search to find a new volunteer play-by-play announcer. Anyone interested in the position can contact Whittemore at 775-445-3250 or DJ.Whittemore@WNC.edu. Candidates need to provide their own broadcasting equipment and have a deep understanding of baseball.

Fans can follow every pitch of the Wildcats games this season through the live stats feature that will be available on the WNC website at http://www.wnc.edu when the Wildcats open their season on Friday, Jan. 30, vs. South Mountain College in Arizona.