Bring on the Storm’

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by Scott Schliesman

His voice booms from the loudspeakers at Simpson football games,but few can put a face with the voice. The man behind the mic islong-time announcer Jim Ford.

Ford, a former Simpson student, picked up the mic in 1961. Atthat time, Ford was also doing the play-by-play for Indianola HighSchool games.

“I feel honored that Simpson has wanted me to announce the gamesfor so long,” Ford said. “I have enjoyed every minute of it andnever once held out on my contract. I would come to the gamesanyway, but now I get to keep inside of a heated press box whiledrinking coffee and eating cookies all afternoon.”

Ford pursued a career in the then-undiscovered field oftechnical journalism. His passion was to be a sports announcer fulltime, but Ford quickly discovered that his freelance jobs couldn’tpay the bills.

Thus, Ford decided to go into the real-estate business tosupport his new family. By being able to announce football gamestwo days out of the week, Ford had found a great balance forhimself.

Ford began announcing games from the sidelines, even in therain. He called those games the “mud bowls.”

“When I first started, I would run up and down the sidelineswith some poor college student following me with the cord,” Fordsaid. “It was exciting to be down there on the field, but the newpress box is a luxury to broadcast from.”

Ford said while he enjoyed running on the sidelines, and heappreciates the press box, he also had a lot of fun sitting in thestands with the students.

The years that Simpson has made the playoffs are specialmemories for Ford.

“Maybe my greatest memory is the fun trip that we had duringSimpson’s first-ever bowl game,” Ford said. “I also remember aplayoff game once that got snowed out, so we had to move the wholeoperation to the Dome in Cedar Falls.”

Ford compliments the new field and the improvements to BuxtonStadium.

“Any field or track that you can have the high school play onone night and a college team play the next day without anynoticeable wear is amazing,” Ford said.

Ford has been able to keep an eye on the progression of Simpsonfootball through his career at Simpson.

“There have been many great players like the Blake boys andHenderson,” Ford said. “But the boys today are amazingathletes.”