Gore heading into the Walk of Fame|Has been ‘Voice of the Pam Pack’ for 17 years

Published 7:48 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

By Staff
Kevin Travis, Sports Editor
Bill Gore has seen lots of action and called out many names over the last 17 years while sitting inside the press box at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium. On Friday night, the roles will be reversed. Gore will be on the field and hear his own name called out during Washington High School’s Walk of Fame night.
Gore will be joined by Al Phelps and Bing Mitchell as this year’s recipients of the Walk of Fame honor.
“It’s very humbling because I consider that to be something someone receives after they have finished their career at Washington High School, and mine is still ongoing,” Gore said. “I also find it humbling because of all the people that are already there. Most of the people who have been inducted were actually athletes or coaches as opposed to someone who is just a logistical person.
“There’s a lot of good people there, and I feel like I haven’t done what I’ve done long enough.”
Gore, as he’s done for the past 17 years, will be the game announcer for Friday night’s football game between the Pam Pack and Jacksonville Cardinals. He’ll be able to take a short break while getting honored. Gore will be joined by his fiancé, Jessica Couling, and several family members during the special occasion.
Washington Pam Pack football coach Sport Sawyer has heard Gore’s voice ever since he’s been coaching the Pack.
“We call him the ‘Voice of the Pam Pack,’” Sawyer said. “He does a very good job of supporting all Pam Pack athletics. He always does a good job.”
Gore also announces at the Pam Pack baseball games, while also lending his voice and talents to Washington basketball and soccer games.
And Gore does it all for free.
“We truly cannot thank Bill Gore enough for everything he does for Pam Pack athletics,” said Washington athletic director Darin Vaughan, who is also the Pack’s baseball coach. “He is instrumental in helping make all this be the best situation possible for the student-athletes and our fans.”
Gore has been announcing at games for nearly as long as he’s been a teacher at the high school. The popular French teacher, who was named Washington’s Teacher of the Year in 1997-98 and 2007-08, offered his services when he first arrived at the school 18 years ago.
Gore, who may have missed just one home football game over the past 17 seasons, vividly recalls announcing a handful of names that still sticks with him today.
“I remember saying Terrance Copper’s name (2007 Walk of Fame inductee, current Kansas City Chiefs receiver) an awful lot about a decade ago,” Gore said. “I remember the recent times when J.H. Rose would visit and I remember saying Jonathan Williams’ name (current East Carolina football player) a lot. I also remember saying Pierre Bell, who was a Pirate football player from West Craven.”
Those three names really jump out to Gore because they all went on to play for his beloved ECU Pirates. Gore, a 1990 graduate of ECU, hasn’t missed many home Pirate games either. In his season-ticket seat at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Gore often thinks about announcing games for the Pirates.
“I have often dreamt about announcing a Pirate game,” Gore said. “That stadium is like a second home to me. I would like to try that just once.”
Gore has seen plenty while perched inside the press box of “Choppy” Wagner stadium, some good and some not so good.
“I remember some very close games,” Gore said. “I remember some very boring games.
“Overall, it’s been a fun experience. The Pam Pack becomes your No. 1 team when you’re in a situation like that, and yet you’re supposed to remain neutral. I’m not 100 percent impartial. I will elevate my voice or say things to promote the Pam Pack, but unfortunately you still can’t say what you feel sometimes, like when the ref blows a call.”
Gore said the best aspect of announcing games is the impact it has on the student-athletes.
“It’s great when somebody says, ‘Mr. Gore, I heard my name,’” Gore said. “I enjoy when the students acknowledge that you’re there, and what you’re doing is adding to the atmosphere of the game.
“I love sports, and this gives me an opportunity to watch sports from a birds-eye view. You learn a lot about football just by watching it.”
Gore said the most challenging parts of the job are having to announce games without a spotter, somebody who can assist in telling Gore where the ball is or who made a tackle, and having incorrect team rosters.
“Some mom or some coach is yelling, ‘that’s not so-and-so,’ and you know the roster is wrong,” Gore said with a laugh.
Gore got involved with announcing when he was a senior at Halifax County High School in Virginia. He got his start at WHLF, a radio station in South Boston, Va., where he played country music, read the news and did other tasks.
“That set me on fire to announcing,” Gore said. “I just liked it. That morphed into sports announcing.”
Gore said there are certain qualities it takes to being a good announcer.
“You have to know the sport you’re announcing,” Gore said. “You also need to have clarity of voice, and you have to be able to think fast. It has to go from mind to lips quickly. You also need to be willing to admit you make mistakes sometimes, use that word, ‘correction,’ and say you gave the wrong player.”
Gore stays plenty busy at the high school. He is also the Student Government Advisor, who coordinates all of the homecoming activities, and is the current Stunt Night coordinator.
The affable Gore also helps students study overseas, traveling with 81 students to Europe over the last 13 years.
Despite all those long hours, Gore said he’s right where he wants to be at this time, whether it’s in the classroom or in the press box.
And he’ll be right where he wants to be once again on Friday night, calling the Pam Pack’s football game on a night when Gore himself will be honored.