St. Jerome’s Recognizes Richard “Dick” J. Callahan
Although Richard J. Callahan passed away on January 29, 2021, his legacy lives on, as well as his contributions to the field of broadcast media. His achievements span a lifetime, with his recent induction into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania on August 6, 2023.
Callahan graduated from St. Jerome's University in 1962 with a Bachelor's degree in Latin. He also played for the Warriors Varsity Men's Basketball team from 1960 – 1961. Callahan started his career in broadcast media when he experienced an injury that forced his time on the men's basketball team to an abrupt halt. From the sidelines, he was asked if he would be interested in announcing the night's game when the regular announcer could not. Callahan credits this experience with his lifelong love of media broadcasting, and he continued down this path throughout his career, where he most notably served as the public address announcer for the Oakland Athletics baseball team from 2004 – 2020.
Associate director of advancement, Athletics and Recreation Kristopher Cates-Bristol shared, "We are honoured to celebrate Richard "Dick" Callahan, SJU Class of '62 and member of Warriors Men's Basketball, and his legacy in the field of broadcast media. Dick found his love for announcing here during a Waterloo Warriors Basketball Game, and it lived on for years. We are incredibly proud of his accomplishments, and his legacy lives on at St. Jerome's University and the University of Waterloo."
The men's basketball league was called the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletics Association (OIAA) during Richard's time at St. Jerome's University. In 1960 – 1961, this team was the OIAA Champions with a conference record of 8 – 0.
Dr. Ken McLaughlin, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, shares that "I remember Dick Callahan well. It was an exciting time to be at St. Jerome's. We were still at the Kingsdale Campus, and the college had attracted a record number of students to its pre-seminary program, many of them from the United States, and basketball was their sport. Basketball hoops were set up behind the classroom building, and the small campus was alive with the excitement of so many young men away from home and playing their favourite sport. This was it. As seminarians, they were not allowed to leave the campus without permission, so as part of the University of Waterloo, St. Jerome's students joined the newly-created basketball league. These young American seminarians dominated the university team. And Waterloo dominated the inter-collegiate league in its first year of playing. When the announcer called out the players' names, most from St. Jerome's and most from the United States, there was a hushed silence in the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. I can still remember our pride and that St. Jerome's had taken its rightful place in the new University of Waterloo. Dick Callahan's career reflected this sense of mystique and magic as he called basketball games with the drama and enthusiasm, we all felt at St. Jerome's for the first time."
Richard J. Callahan received the Fr. Noam Choate, C.R. Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from St. Jerome's University in 2003. This award was established in 1986 and is presented annually at the St. Jerome's Graduation Ceremony to an alum who has demonstrated extraordinary accomplishment in their professional and community life.
A St. Jerome's alum, Rob Donelson, shared his thoughts about Callahan, "He continued to stay in touch after graduation as an enthusiastic alumnus and often travelled back to Waterloo from Moraga, California, for reunions. He served as a popular and witty emcee at alumni dinners. Dick always acknowledged that he started in sports announcing while at St. Jerome's, calling the Waterloo Warriors' games. This served him well as he became the long-time announcer for the NBA Golden State Warriors and later as an announcer for the Oakland A's MLB team. Overall, Dick was a loyal and supportive graduate of St. Jerome's. It was a relationship he cherished. This Hall of Fame tribute is richly deserved."
St. Jerome's University is honoured that Richard J. Callahan's work will be immortalized through the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame to continue highlighting his meaningful contributions to broadcast media for future generations.