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Ron Henry hangs up the microphone to retire after sitting courtside to announce Warsaw basketball games for the past 40 years.

WARSAW — The senior Warsaw men’s basketball team weren’t the only ones honored in the Tigers’ final home game of the season on Friday night. It was the last basketball game of the 66-year-old career of PA announcer Ron Henry, who is retiring after the Warsaw baseball season ended in the spring.

Henry, who grew up in Waterloo Iowa, began his career as an announcer in 1956 as a junior at Grace College.

“It was actually their freshman year of basketball. The speech therapy teacher asked me if I wanted to do the PA work. I liked the sport and I said yes, I’ll give it a try,” Henry said. .

Henry would continue to do PA work for Grace for the next 40 years. He also occasionally worked double duty, keeping score while he announced. He started announcing Warsaw men’s basketball in 1982 and continued to do both until 1996.

“I lived in constant fear of saying Lancer at a Warsaw game and Tiger at a Grace game,” laughed Henry.

After completing his four decades as an AP Lancer man, Henry took on a bigger role in Warsaw. He started playing football a few years later, women’s basketball in 2007 and baseball in 2008.

“Basketball is probably my favorite,” Henry said. “Baseball probably would be, but they start those games at the end of March. I announce a game in parka and snowmobile pants with a heater.

During his 40 years in Warsaw, Henry has many fond memories to reflect on. He shared what he thought was the funniest:

“We had a referee on the game who looked a little too big for the pants he was wearing. A few minutes into the match, his zipper popped off. He was running up and down the field with his hands out in front of him, and sure enough, the boys’ cheering block went crazy for him. At the first time out, he jumped off the ground.

“I knew I had to say something, but I didn’t mean anything inappropriate. My first thought was to say he was looking for an insurer for better coverage. I ended up saying that there would be an extended delay for the repair of the equipment. He got a standing ovation when he left. »

Henry says it didn’t really hit him that he won’t be on the mic for the Tigers after the spring. He can’t wait to go to basketball games and have nothing to do, but will have to relearn how to be a fan.

“I go to some of these games on the road and see something on the field that I don’t like, but I’m so used to not yelling,” Henry said. “I should say something, but I don’t.”

He also looks forward to watching them in company.

“My wife said to me the other day, in the 66 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had the chance to sit next to her at a basketball game. I wasn’t even there. thought,” Henry said.

Henry ends his career with an injury report that would open the eyes of some of the former players he announced: two operations for colon cancer, triple bypass surgery and two Achilles tears, one while playing softball and the other while working in the garden. These ailments have never caused Henry to miss a game.

Henry says he currently has no plans for his well-deserved retirement, but he doesn’t plan to sit still either.

“During the summers, we traveled to Europe and all over the country. I don’t have a to-do list, but I don’t want to be bored either.