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The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

The Voice of the Maroons

A conversation with the iconic commentator of Dowling Catholic sports
The+Voice+of+the+Maroons

The voice of the Maroons…the booming voice that sails across Valley Stadium on chilly fall nights or floats toward the outfield under the lights of George Cordaro Baseball Field at Dowling Catholic. Most have heard the powerful and infectious energy of the unforgettable voice, but not everybody knows the man behind the mic.

His name is Denny O’Grady. O’Grady, a proud Dowling alumnus, has always been around sports. O’Grady can recall when he really began to get interested in sports when he was just a young boy. 

“Back when I was eight or nine years old, my dad would always bring home the sporting news in the paper that had the baseball box scores and stats everyday. That’s when I became a baseball fan,” says O’Grady. He continued by saying, “My dad was in the hotel business and he would take me to stay at hotels in Kansas City and Minneapolis where we would be at the same hotels as the Yankees. There I would get to meet the players.” 

O’Grady poses from his box at Valley Stadium.

These magical moments sparked a love for sports that didn’t just last through O’Grady’s childhood. O’Grady would go on to attend Dowling where his love for sports continued, but his physical stature held him back from being under the lights himself.

“I ended up at Dowling as a freshman in the fall of ‘63 during the Vietnam War. I wasn’t very big and my draft card said I was 5’7 and 140 pounds. I wasn’t big enough to play football so I became the football, baseball, and basketball manager.”

In O’Grady’s time at Dowling Catholic, the culture of success was very much already alive. However, the arrival of a now Maroon’s legend took things to a whole new level. 

“When Jim Williams [former football coach] came in ‘64, he had great success and I was one of his managers. Of course, the rest is history. He made Dowling football, along with Tom Wilson, great.” 

O’Grady would go on to graduate from the University of St. Thomas in ‘71 where he served as a sports manager and editor of the sports section of the school newspaper, just like he did in high school. Afterwards, he took a job as a sports editor at the daily paper in Carroll, Iowa, where he experienced a thirty year enjoyable and busy career. This career left room for little else than what O’Grady loves more than just about anything, sports. 

“I always tell people… I never made enough money or had enough time to get married because I was always covering ball games and writing up ball games all my life.” O’Grady eventually got started broadcasting at Dowling in the early 2000’s and the rest is history.

“I started announcing Dowling baseball in 2004. Then in the fall I started announcing football and that evolved into announcing volleyball, wrestling, girls and boys basketball, track meets, and others…I just volunteered to help my alma mater. I’ve done it all my life. I’ve always been around sports.” 

The job is enjoyable and rewarding for O’Grady. The time he spends in the booth watching the Maroons compete is one of the things he loves most, but it’s the kids that keeps him coming back. 

O’Grady prepares for the Dowling Maroons to take on the Valley Tigers.

“I love watching the success of the kids. Nowadays they don’t get coverage in the paper so I just try and give them a little extra recognition and I try to be exuberant on the mic…just being a true Maroon.”

Not many can call themselves as true of a Maroon as O’Grady. For most, the job would seem only strenuous. However, for O’Grady, he says Dowling culture makes it easy for him to want to come to work. 

“It helps to have success and Dowling is a winner. The Maroons…sure it’s a great academic school, but it’s also a great athletic school. Kids want to win. They want to compete hard. They want to do well and it’s fun watching them grow from their freshman to senior year and how they just get better and better. Success breeds success. These kids have Dowling across their chest and they want to win and that’s fun to watch. That 7 year run in football… how lucky can a guy be to be the public address announcer and watch that? That, in my lifetime, will never be touched again.” 

Every time O’Grady gets behind the mic the goal is always the same: to deliver as much enthusiasm and support for the athletes as he possibly can. Getting recognition to everybody, not just the stars, is the centerpiece of what O’Grady does best.

“The more kids we can get recognition for, the better it is. I just like to give the kids some incentive to do well. Even for the kids that are struggling I like to give a ‘finish strong’ or ‘hang in there’. Just trying to be positive. That’s what we need in our lives – more common sense and more positivity.” 

Few people are as humble as this Dowling legend. When asked what he thought about his staple of a nickname, “the voice of the Maroons”, he expressed nothing but gratitude and humility. 

“I take a lot of pride in that. I love doing this and it’s a nice compliment, but it’s not about me. It’s about the kids and the school.” 

For O’Grady, it will always be about the kids and the Dowling Catholic Maroons. 

 

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About the Contributor
Flynn Milligan, Editor-in-Chief
Flynn Milligan is a senior at Dowling Catholic. He is a member of the varsity Cross Country and Track teams. When he isn’t running you can find him reading a magazine, watching his favorite movies, or editing the Dowling Catholic Post. Flynn plans to attend The University of Iowa to run Cross country and Track while studying Journalism with an emphasis on sports broadcasting. Flynn is currently on Season 2 of Friends.

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