Sean Moth is the man behind the microphone at the KFC Yum! Center and at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
The Cards’ P.A. announcer has made “threeee” and “Cards’ first down” famous sayings throughout the city.
The handpicked successor for legendary P.A. announcer John Tong, Moth lends his voice to just about every sport on the UofL campus. He is the public address announcer for football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, and does play-by-play on the radio for baseball.
KENT TAYLOR: When did you know that you wanted to be an announcer?
SEAN MOTH: I actually grew up wanting to be a National Park Ranger because I spent a lot of time out west. As I was finishing up college, I was in radio, and arbitrarily had an opportunity to do a Colorado State men’s basketball game. Ironically against UTEP, Don Haskins was on the other bench. The first game I ever did, I never did a high school game, I never did a jayvee game – (I) did a division I men’s basketball game. It kind of worked and so I just went with it.
TAYLOR: Did you love it right away?
MOTH: I did, but I still had a love for radio because there is a little more control there and I guess you get to use the language a little more, so it’s a little more fun to do radio, but the seat is not bad, and I did enjoy it a lot.
TAYLOR: From there, what were the steps that got you to Louisville?
MOTH: At Colorado State I started to be a fill in guy for men’s basketball, I did some sideline stuff at football games, and I became the voice of the women’s basketball and volleyball teams, on the radio and in the arenas.
The Denver Nuggets had an exhibition game in Fort Collins, Colo., against the Pistons. It was Grant Hill’s rookie year and Rodney Rogers’ rookie year, and the Nuggets staff came down from Denver. They brought the entire staff, everybody except for the P.A. announcer. They asked me to do the game, I did the game, got to know them.
The Quebec Nordiques moved from Quebec to Colorado, to become the Avalanche. I called the guys I had worked with, I said do you need a guy, they said, yeah. So I auditioned and eventually, over 25 people, got that spot as the voice of the Avalanche.
I spent four years with the Avs, the last two of which I also did the Nuggets, and in the time that I was at Colorado State, Tom Jurich was there. When it was apparent that John Tong was going to hang up his microphone after 37 amazing years, he called me and offered me a position here. It was like I was being recruited. He brought me out here, showed me around. I knew I wanted to work for Tom, I had never been to Louisville, but it didn’t take long to realize it was a great move.
TAYLOR: What do you miss about the pro sports?
MOTH: I miss hockey big time.
TAYLOR: Did you ever meet John Tong?
MOTH: No, I didn’t. I heard him do a game or two here, but I never had the privileged of meeting him. He sadly passed away the summer before I arrived. I have spoken with his family, I have met his sons, great family, great people.
TAYLOR: How tough was that to replace a legend?
MOTH: Luckily I had time to cultivate my style at Colorado State and in Denver, so that really wasn’t a concern.
What I didn’t realize was a concern was how many people here weren’t very happy with the job that I did. I don’t know that people are different in Colorado, but I didn’t have people complain about me in Colorado. I came here and there were emails, there were phone calls, letters to the editor, the message boards were blowing up, Terry Meiners was ripping on me on his show.
TAYLOR: What is your favorite thing to say into a microphone?
MOTH: Your final score, Louisville more than the other team. I love winning.
I guess I’m known for the “threeeee” call, that’s something that I enjoy.
TAYLOR: Did you have that from the beginning?
MOTH: Just in doing P.A., I realized that R’s and E’s are good letters, and so I was doing “threeeees,” that Nuggets exhibition game. I thought, you know what, instead of saying so and so for three, why not lead with it, because it’s such a great word, so I did it at that Nuggets game and I’ve done it ever since.
TAYLOR: Is there a player name that stands out?
MOTH: I did enjoy Larry O’Bannon while he was here. The Avalanche had a forward from Russia named Valeri Kamensky – with the R’s and the E’s, that was a fun one to say.
TAYLOR: Is there a game or games that stand out?
MOTH: Three. The Super Regional to go to Omaha for the baseball team. I am the radio voice for the baseball team, I’ve been doing those games for nine years now, that was the first.
The second was the last game in Freedom Hall. That was unforgettable, that will always be with me.
Interestingly enough, the third game is the UCLA-Louisville men’s soccer snow storm game. I stood on the roof top of the press box and did the webcast of that. The game itself was just unreal, the conditions added to it, and then the fans that showed up, and stuck through, just made it unreal. That was a goal with :52 seconds left to send the team to the Final Four, much like the Super Regional, so the implications were big. Every game is unique.