'Voice of Hempfield' departs with Class of 2014
For four years, Josh Suszek's voice has been the voice of sports at Hempfield Area High School.
Once a week, he does the “Hempfield 15601 Sports with Suszek” morning program.
“Hempfield 15601” is the high school's live morning show that imparts announcements for the day, alerts to upcoming events and other pertinent information.
Suszek does the sports report segment on Fridays.
“It's very well received,” said Cory Cullen, an English teacher who helps to run “Hempfield 15601.”
“The students love it. He writes it himself, I edit it and he always does a fantastic job.”
Suszek's voice can also be heard announcing junior varsity football and varsity basketball games and any other event anyone asks him to cover.
“I get real into the introductions, use nicknames of players and try to get the fans to laugh and enjoy the game,” said Suszek, a 17-year-old senior.
Junior Kason Harrell, 17, a varsity basketball standout and a rap artist, loves Suszek's announcing and thinks it's the funniest in the business.
“Josh would be the Stephen A. Smith (a TV commentator for “ESPN First Take”) of high school basketball,” Harrell said. “The creativity he uses when announcing — even special plays — is off the charts. I've never heard another announcer like him.”
Before high school, Suszek, an avid sports lover, never thought about announcing.
But since he loves being around sports any way he can, it seemed like a natural fit.
For Suszek, who runs track and field (and there's no announcing for that), it helps that he knows many of the players.
Suszek cites as one inspiration the work of Chris Berman, who anchors “SportsCenter” and “Monday Night Countdown,” along with the U.S. Open, the Stanley Cup finals and other programming for ESPN and ABC Sports.
“Berman is my favorite announcer,” said Suszek. “Some announcers can be so serious, but he makes it funny. That's really who I try to imitate ... even steal a few things from.”
Many parents, teachers and students have commented on his announcing abilities and his deep voice (which he admits he tries to make deeper) and have encouraged him to pursue it as career, Suszek said.
Although he's leaning toward majoring in sports broadcasting next fall, at the moment, it's between that and the medical training field. Suszek, the homecoming king who is active with Christians in Action, is deciding between St. Vincent College and Grove City College.
In his spare time, Suszek enjoys running, doing anything sports-related and spending time with his family, which includes brother Matthew, a freshman, or sister Rachel, a seventh-grader at Harrold Middle School. Cullen said Suszek could find success in sports broadcasting.
“If that's what he wants to pursue, I think he could definitely make a name for himself,” Cullen said.
“If he continues with this .. I'll probably be watching him on ESPN someday,” Harrell said.
Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer.