UW-La Crosse band announcer to retire after 50 years of family tradition

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — After 25 years of announcing for UW-La Crosse’s marching band, Terry Wirkus is making his final call  and ending a longstanding family tradition with it.

As the announcer for the UWL Screaming Eagles, Wirkus lends his talents at the university’s football games. He started announcing in fall 1996 after meeting the marching band director at staff orientation and quickly became a staple.

“I just appreciate his vested interest in the group after all these years,” said Tammy Fisher, UWL’s current band director.

Wirkus’ history extends past his own time teaching and announcing at UWL. His father, Tom, was an announcer for 25 years, the same amount of time as Wirkus.

“I think that’s very special,” Wirkus said. “That does mean a lot to me personally.”

Although it was unintentional that Wirkus’ tenure paralleled his father’s, he feels it’s important to carry on a family legacy if someone is able.

“One can model him and take his example and make that part of their own lives,” Wirkus said.

For Wirkus, announcing on the field is an honor. He’s done it for 25 years without monetary pay.

“The payment has been the satisfaction in doing it,” said Wirkus. “The kind words from people.”

To many, he is a longstanding figure at UWL.

“He is the voice,” Fisher said.

For his final call, Wirkus plans to thank his father for the family legacy he was given and now leaves behind.

“Dad, thanks so much for your 25 years,” Wirkus said. “I love you.”

Wirkus’ last call will be at 11 a.m. Saturday during the UW-L home football game.

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