10 Questions With Beaver Stadium PA Announcer Dean DeVore
You may recognize his voice from one of many Penn State home football games over the past two decades. Or maybe you know him from his work with AccuWeather.
Dean DeVore has served as the public address announcer of several Penn State-hosted sports events since he started with women’s volleyball in 1994. When away from the press box, he serves as a broadcast meteorologist.
With Beaver Stadium back at full capacity, we spoke with DeVore to learn more about his experiences in his career and his thoughts on fans coming together this football season.
Onward State: Could you give our readers an elevator pitch on Dean DeVore? Who are you for those who might not know?
Dean DeVore: My name is Dean DeVore. I’ve been the voice of Penn State football for 22 years and some other sports for almost 30. I grew up in Pennsylvania I love this state. I love this athletic program. I think my job was to be an ambassador to the crowd.
OS: Can you reflect on your time as a student at Penn State? What about it made you want to stay here for decades after?
DD: 38 years. I didn’t do so great in my initial run as a student, so I worked for about three or four years, then left school, went into the work world working radio. But then after about seven years, I did go back and finish my degree.
I got one degree from Penn State, and then I went ahead and started working at AccuWeather and was able to get a second degree in meteorology which made my parents happy. You know, it took me so long to get the first one, and then I ended up getting two different ones, although that degree should be noted is from my other alma mater, which is Mississippi State.
I think the reason I stuck around here for so long is that I kept getting more and more opportunities to do more and more sports, and you know, it just kept building. The opportunities started with lacrosse and women’s volleyball. And then I got football in 2000, but I also have covered men’s basketball for about four or five years.
My mom’s family is also just down the road from near the Huntingdon area. So, you know, I was coming up to this place before I was a student. So I’ve always loved this place. And then I mean I’ve been fortunate because if you think about me, I’m representing or working with two iconic brands. Penn State sports, and my real job at AccuWeather. Being able to work with those two things that I had dreamed about as a kid, it just kept me here, and here I am 38 years later.
OS: What is it like coming back into a packed stadium this year after last season and not having any fans in the stadium?
DD: You know, it’s been strange, but the good kind of strange, right? Last year was just awful. It really was hard to find the right voice, the right pace, the right things to say at some points.
I started off this year by attending the Blue Band friends and family rehearsal, which is usually the culmination of their week of band camp. As I walked from the Blue Band building over to their practice field, it was as if being surrounded by 200 people suddenly felt like 2000 people. It was the most people I’d seen around something that felt normal again in a while. It’s been amazing. And I think everybody just wants to be back, right? They want to be there. They’re having fun. You know, I hope responsibly. But it’s definitely something that I don’t ever want to go through again. But we did it. And I’m really proud of not just what we did at football, but what Penn State as a whole did to get these sports back.
We were doubling up on sports in the spring. Last week we were running sports that typically compete in the fall in the spring, and I said to Sandy Barbour, “It feels like we’ve just done four or five Olympics in a row” because of all the work that went into that time.
Even this year is a lot of work, because part of it is been remembering what we did two years ago to get back to this spot, and we’ve got a lot of new people. And there were some people that weren’t even here last year. And so this is their very first football season, and we don’t have as much experience in certain areas. But everybody’s pulling together and doing a great job, so that’s pretty cool.
OS: Meteorology and broadcasting are obviously pretty different. How did you find passions for both, and what’s it like balancing them?
DD: So in some ways they’re different, but when you’re broadcasting them, I think there are actually some similarities. I think for what I do for sports, it’s kind of a play-by-play situation. I think that actually lends itself to the weather, especially when severe extraordinary weather is going on. I mean, these are, again, two things that were important in my youth. I started giving a weather report to my fourth-grade class. Much to their chagrin, I actually made my own map and would draw it every day and was encouraged by my teacher, but I think it put me in a position to be maybe made a little fun of back then I got away from the meteorology kind of tried to do more of the sports stuff.
Then there was a point where I actually got hired by AccuWeather to do some broadcasting. They went back and said, ‘We want you to do more. But to do more, you do have to be a meteorologist.’ So, they were very willing to help me get that second degree. I’m very happy with the way that’s worked out because I stepped into the shoes of some very legendary people that were on the radio that were really well-known guys like Elliott Abrams and Joe Sobel, who you know I grew up listening to them. On the face, they’re very different. But in some aspects, they’re actually quite similar.
OS: What’s your favorite sport to broadcast and why?
DD: They all have different perks and exciting things about them, and they all have their moments when I love them.
Lacrosse being the very first sport I did has a very special place in my heart also because I think it’s one of the most fun all around sports because it’s got action. It’s got some scoring. It’s got the physicality. I understand it. I like teaching people about some of the calls and other things happening on the field and enjoy being able to explain those things.
I also really love volleyball. I just did the men’s Final Four tournament in Columbus last year. But there’s a lot to love about volleyball, and field hockey is another favorite of mine.
There’s a lot of work and intensity and pressure that comes with football. There are a lot of moving parts. Some people might say, “Well, isn’t football your favorite because there are more people there?” Not necessarily, although I do enjoy that part.
In some ways, I actually enjoy sports like volleyball where I’m more directly linked to the team and I’m closer to them. With football, I feel pretty distant because I’m up in the press box. But Coach Franklin has done a really good job at making the players more accessible. I feel really good when I go up to a player and interact with them and they actually know me and recognize my voice. That’s really nice.
OS: We’ve seen some of your #DeVoreCast videos. Can you give us a rundown of what a #DeVoreCast is and its origins?
DD: The #DeVoreCast is kind of like a little hashtag or trademark thing for me. The person who initiated that is a guy named Dirk Vann. For years, he hosted an early morning radio show called First Light. And it’s in most markets. I think it was on like 500 stations. He’s the one that started #DeVoreCast. He and I also came up with the other catchphrase I use sometimes where if it’s a nice day, I’ll call it a “Dean’s List day”.
I think the way we all do weather now is different. I mean, most people just look at their app and say, “Oh, this hour, it’s supposed to rain.” But what I tried to do with the #DeVoreCast is give context and kind of tell a story. Let’s face it, as meteorologists, and the way weather is, if I can tell you exactly everything that was going to happen the next three or four days, it wouldn’t be much need for me as a person to give the context, but we can’t do that.
I try to have some context and personality to the weather story. One thing you may notice is that there’s not a lot of bells and whistles with that, but I don’t think I need a lot of graphics. #DeVoreCast is basically my style of predicting and reporting the weather and it’s just caught on. It’s my own little space.
OS: While you make it seem easy, there is behind-the-scenes work happening. What is your preparation like for a home football game?
DD: Well, it’s an ongoing process throughout the week. At the start of a new week, probably on Sunday or Monday, I try to go back and watch or listen to the game somehow. I’ve been loving these night games because they have the sky cam theme, which is just the ambient sound, and my voice, and then the sky cam so I can really hear and critique myself. I may have some one-on-ones with some people to debrief what happened in the previous game and work through some things and issues we want to improve upon.
On Wednesdays, we have a marketing meeting that includes all of the people that are involved in the gameday production. On Thursday or Friday, I start working on developing some charts. Also on Friday, we do a run-through with the core marketing people, the music and video team, all in the stadium.
With my charts, I’ve split it up accordingly between when Penn State’s on offense and when the opposing team’s on defense. The charts are color-coded as well. There are some weeks where if it’s a later game, I may not do that color coding and organizing until Saturday morning. That way it’s fresher in my mind come game time.
I have a system that I’ve developed over the years of how I chart out with teams in this day and age of double numbers, which is just ridiculous. I mean everybody’s, you know as long as they’re not gonna you know they’re gonna stick they’re not going to both be on this field. You know you get an offensive to win a defensive two or five, you know, so I actually split it up into a sort of a chart for when Penn State’s on offense and when the opposing teams on defense and then I color-coded, and so it’s just kind of the work that I need to do on that.
I’m in a good rhythm with gameday now where I host the team arrival as they come in. I announce the Blue Band arrival and show too. Some days these gamedays run twelve hours long or more.
OS: What goes into crafting some of your famous lines, like how you announce the Blue Band and the team arrival in general?
DD: The script of the pregame has not changed much even from the point where I took over. I started doing some announcing for the band in ’94. Initially, I was doing this thing in the Bryce Jordan Center called “TailGreat,” which is where the band would perform.
When Coach Franklin got here, he wanted to do proper team arrivals, so we switched around how we did things pregame. These lines and announcements really help get people’s attention and get the fans excited. Not a lot goes into specifically what the words are what I say, but it’s more about how I say it.
As a Blue Band alumni and having a lot of pride in that organization, I’ve always wanted to make that announcement special.
OS: Outside of your work life, what hobbies keep you occupied?
DD: I like to play disc golf when the weather’s good. I also like to cook. Peace and quiet, when I can get it, is nice, too, especially on a Sunday after a busy football day on Saturday. I sometimes just need a day in quiet because during the game not only do I have the noise of the game constantly surrounding me, but also three or four voices through a headset talking to me too.
I like to do a lot of these things with my partner, Joel, and we travel quite a bit. We take an annual trip to Cape Cod every year, plus Vegas if we can.
OS: Finally, per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
DD: I think I did this about 10 years ago. I think if I could be a dinosaur, I would be the Brontosaurus. He looks imposing, but he’s a big softy in the end. My bark and my voice are bigger sometimes than what’s inside me. I hope, just like with anything I do, that the inside of who I am is really the most important thing that people get to know.
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