Announcer’s legacy echoes through Alumni Gym

By Logan K. VanDine

When you’re at a Rider basketball game, spectators will hear catchy phrases over the loudspeakers, like “Shooting…two” or “Shooting one and one” 

The voice belongs to Dan Collins, who just finished his 26th year calling basketball games at Alumni Gym and announced for 16 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament games.

At 51 years of age, the Broncs’ broadcaster did not let a career in accounting stop him from doing what he loves.

‘I just enjoy the game’

“Basketball has been with me forever. I played in high school, I played at Rider and I just enjoy the game,” Collins said. “College basketball has changed so drastically from when I played, but still, there is nothing quite like it around this time of year.”

Despite not playing much at the high school level, Collins, who attended Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York, received offers to play at the college level from several institutions based solely on his physical traits.“I was 6’7” when I was a sophomore in high school,” said Collins. “It wasn’t something on my mind to play past high school, but some schools started reaching out, with Rider being one of them, and they started recruiting me early.”

‘I knew this was going to be a good fit’

Collins ended up majoring in accounting as well as playing basketball for the class of 1995. 

“[Rider] is on the smaller side, which is what I was looking for,” said Collins. “The accounting and business program at the time was very highly regarded and still is….I remember meeting the coaches and the different guys on the team and I knew this was going to be a good fit.”

Collins spoke very fondly of his playing days when he was coached by Kevin Bannon, who is now in the Rider Athletics Hall of Fame, as well as Don Harnum, who is the current athletic director at Rider.

Collins graduated to pursue a career in accounting, but how did he get into broadcasting basketball games, a side hustle he has maintained for nearly 30 years? 

‘I didn’t think anything of it’

One night, an all-star game for high school players was hastily thrown together, and an announcer was needed for the last-minute matchup. 

 “I said I could do it,” Collins said. “I was joking around and having some fun with it … then people were telling me that I did a really good job with it.”

Not thinking anything of it, Collins recalled the day when he was called back by Rider to start announcing basketball games on a long-term basis.

“Somebody must have gotten in the ear of Mike Wargo, who was the associate athletic director at the time, and mentioned what I did at the all-star game,” he said. “They had me come in and do an intrasquad scrimmage one day, and then they said, ‘Yeah, you can do it if you want, the job is yours.’”

According to Collins, he didn’t expect to be calling games for as long as he has been.

“I’ve been announcing for 26 years and I’ve spent more than half my life in Alumni Gym,” he said.

On top of working Rider basketball games, Collins’s voice can also be heard at the MAAC Tournament, which now takes place at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Harnum could not speak more highly of Collins for being a great announcer as well as still contributing to Rider years after he graduated.

“Dan has a great voice for announcing and he definitely has a schtick that has a way of getting the hometown crowd fired up and behind the team,” said Harnum. “He adds a lot of excitement and enthusiasm to the game. As an alum who was on successful teams, it is great to keep someone like Dan so close to the program.”

Collins brings that signature excitement by changing and altering his voice for broadcasting, a skill that developed easily for him.

“In terms of my voice, I just drop a few decibels, and in terms of how I started to use a deeper voice, it just came naturally to me. … When I say ‘shooting two’ or ‘shooting one and one,’ it just all came when I was a player when a referee would say it,” said Collins. “I just find what works as the season goes on.”

Collins also talked about what he thinks his future holds as an announcer and if he sees himself expanding his role.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” he said. “PA announcing does not pay a lot to make a career out of it, but where I’m at right now in my life, I’m happy with what I’m doing.”

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