Over the last four decades, the resonating voice of Dave Keammerer has become as iconic a part of Chesterton sports as the Trojan logo itself.

Add up the football and basketball games, wrestling and soccer matches and track meets for which he has been public address announcer and the total exceeds 1,000.

"I haven't even thought about it, even as a math guy," Keammerer said. "I was always interested in sports. The difference between an announcer and a coach is you can go home and go to sleep. It's something that's been part of my life for a long time."

That's 39 years, to be exact. Keammerer came to Chesterton in 1971 from Washington Township, where he served as athletic director while coaching basketball, cross country and track for six years. He was already involved as a scoreboard operator when Mel Bair, who had been handling the announcing at football and boys basketball games, became athletic director.

"The day he was announced as (athletic director), I told him I'd like to give it a try," Keammerer said. "It just grew from there."

Keammerer grew up aspiring to be the next Pat Piper, the longtime Cubs PA announcer, but despite the booming pipes, he'd never been in front of a microphone before 1978. He developed a passion for math from his freshman algebra teacher and pursued a career in education.

"I remember one time way back early in my teaching I was warned I was scaring all the girls in class, I had such a big voice," Keammerer said. "I didn't have anything to do with it. That was given to me."

As the athletics landscape expanded, so did Keammerer's involvement. What began as football and basketball quickly evolved into other sports.

"A good friend's daughter was on the girls basketball team," he said. "We'd laugh and chat during games. The assistant AD came to us and said you need to be the announcer and John (Becking) can run the scoreboard. A father of one of the (wrestlers) was announcer, but when the kid graduated, he was gone, and Mel asked me to take that one over."

Soccer soon became part of the docket and and Keammerer took on that as well.

"I enjoyed it all the time," he said. "I've always said the thing that kept me coming for so long was Chesterton High School has the best popcorn you can find anywhere. "I enjoy the closeness (of basketball). I always enjoyed watching a good track meet. I've had a lot of tremendous spotters, helping me out over the years, Tom Peller being the last one. I couldn't do it by myself. There are too many things going on."

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In 1991, his wife, Sandy, got into the act, helping with ticket sales.

"Mel said, 'Well, Dave's here anyway,'" Keammerer said. "I go when she goes, so I'm there an hour early, but she's done after the first half, so she has to wait on me. It evens out."

While Keammerer retired from teaching in 2009, he remained the golden voice of the Trojans. Back in August, he told athletic director Garry Nallenweg this school year would be it. He'll announce his last sporting event in the spring. He'll finish up basketball duties with Saturday's sectional championship.

"I wouldn't say I'm sentimental about it," he said. "I haven't been counting the games to the end."

Still active at 78, Keammerer is involved in a number of volunteer activities and will focus more of his energies on that. He and Sandy work a morning each week at the Porter County Visitors Center. He does a morning news show on WVLP-FM (103.1) twice a week and the couple is also involved in their church.

"We're still very busy," he said. "I love it that way. There just comes a time when you realize it's time to move on to something else. I always said I would know. All these years, working with kids, there were a couple kids this year whose parents I had in class. A lot of people I worked with are gone. I don't know the kids as well as used to."

The Keammerers live in Valpo and were recognized during the recent Chesterton-Valpo boys game. Dave probably would've preferred to stay out of the spotlight, even if just for that moment, but the acknowledgement was richly deserved.

Beyond the booming pipes, what's made him great was his ability to capture the excitement of a moment with an inflection without making himself a screaming center of attention, a tricky balance to find for an announcer.

Chesterton hasn't won a boys hoops sectional since 1987. Don't think for a second the coincidence of the 21-3 Trojans having a shot to win the tournament on their own floor with Keammerer calling his final games is lost on the Duneland Schools legend.

"I told (coach) Marc (Urban) I couldn't think of a better way to go out than a victory on Saturday night," Keammerer said.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com


Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.