The Louisiana Tech Athletics fan base stopped in their tracks late Wednesday morning when the department announced that longtime play-by-play announcer Dave Nitz was stepping away from the gridiron and hardwood and moving to the diamond only starting in 2021-22.
Nitz, who has won just about every award imaginable during his almost five decades behind the mic calling Louisiana Tech athletic events, made the decision that it was time to take a step back and slow down a pace that only a young thoroughbred could maintain.
“This is my 47th year doing all three sports, and I think it’s time for me to slow down a little bit,” Nitz said. “At some point in time, it’s better to ease out than to stop completely. I am not going away. I’m just going in a different direction.”
The news spread quickly through social media, an avenue that Nitz – who owns a flip phone – knows nothing about. However, it drew a lot of reaction from around the LA Tech Nation.
“I had the good fortune of being covered by Dave during my career, as well as the opportunity to work alongside you doing some sideline for Tech games,” said Tech Hall of Famer and former Bulldog quarterback Luke McCown, who starred for the Bulldogs from 2000 through 2003. “I can sincerely say he is a legend. I am glad he is not hanging it up completely, just trading in his football cleats for a pair of baseball spikes.”
Baseball has always been Nitz’s true love. When he hasn’t been calling Tech events – more than 4,000 during the past 47-plus years – he has also been the play-by-play voice for more than 4,000 minor league baseball games around the country. The fact Tech fans will still get to hear the Milton, West Virginia native call balls and strikes from the newly-rebuilt JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park is something not lost on those in Ruston.
“Dave is a voice you don’t forget,” said Tech Hall of Famer and former Bulldog baseball player TJ Soto. “A voice that will define the level of expectations for Louisiana Tech athletics long after he is gone. It was a blessing to play in the era of Dave Nitz. I hate to see him semi-retire but glad we still have him with the baseball program.”
“Dave is an institute,” said Tech Hall of Famer and former SID Keith Prince. “A legend. He helped build the Tech fan base over the years. He is beloved by our fans, and he should be. He will be missed in football and men’s basketball, but whatever he wants to do, he deserves. All of us in the business hold him in high esteem. Louisiana Tech is so fortunate to have had him for all these years, and I’m glad he will continue to be the voice of Bulldog baseball.”
Many may not know this about Nitz, but early in his Tech career he served as the voice of the Lady Techster basketball team, calling its first two national championship games in the early 1980s.
“Dave was the voice of the Lady Techsters for many years,” said Tech Hall of Famer and Lady Techster basketball head coach emeritus Leon Barmore. “He was a real pro on the air and so much fun as a traveling partner. I loved my pick-up basketball games with him. In my retirement the past few years, I have listened to him doing Bulldog basketball. He was so good. He put me at the game in my chair. So gifted. He’s in my Hall of Fame.”
You would be hard-pressed to find a Tech fan who disagrees with Barmore’s selection.