Jack Venables '56 The Voices of Pioneer Athletics
A warm bass voice booms out over the PA system in Griswold Stadium: “Touchdown, Pioneers!” With his distinctive voice, Jack Venables has been the primary PA announcer for Pioneer athletics for decades—more than 30 years for football and 20 years for basketball.
Venables enjoys being a part of the Pioneer athletic community. He takes pride in the fact that Lewis & Clark’s announcer and scoreboard teams are known by officiating crews throughout the Northwest for their professionalism. In fact, when former NFL quarterback Neil Lomax was looking for someone to handle the announcing duties for Oregon’s premier high school football all-star game, the Les Schwab Bowl, he called on Venables. Now he also announces the Les Schwab Invitational Basketball Tournament in December.
Venables’ most memorable sports assignment at the College was chronicling the success of the 1993- 94 basketball team. That team went on to play in the Final Four at the NAIA basketball tournament. Derek Foster ‘94, a recent inductee into the Pioneer Sports Hall of Fame, starred on the team.
“That team had everything: size, speed, and a good shooter,”says Venables. “And best of all, the gym was packed and rocking every night they played. It was a lot of fun!”
Neil Sabin, professor of communication and director of forensics, told Venables early on that he had a knack for public speaking. However,Venables decided to pursue a degree in business, which he thought at the time would be more practical. He put that degree to use, ending his career with a 15-year stint at the Oregon Lottery, where he helped set up the lottery’s gaming systems in businesses throughout the state.
As a graduate of the first class of Lake Oswego High School, Venables came to Lewis & Clark shortly after it had moved to Palatine Hill.While at the College, he played football for Joe Huston and ran track for Eldon Fix, both legendary Lewis & Clark coaches.
Venables enjoys maintaining on ongoing relationship with the College. He met his first wife, Dorothy Bryant ’59, here. His late brother,Ted A.Venables ’59, and his daughter, Julie Venables Fendrich ’92, also graduated from Lewis & Clark. Venables enjoys walking the campus from time to time and takes pride in the changes that have occurred over the years.
Listen for Venables’ voice this fall, when he returns to announcing under the field lights of Griswold Stadium.
—by Shannon Smith
Back to Summer 2005 Chronicle