Now Announcing for the Boston Red Sox: John F. Dolan ’01 & ’13G
John F. Dolan, III ’01 & ’13G, a familiar face and voice at Providence College men’s basketball games, can add another East Coast treasure to the lineup of sports venues where he’s brought his public address “shtick.”
Dolan recently served as the public address announcer for a Red Sox-Toronto Blue Jays game at 100-year-old Fenway Park in Boston. He made a little history in the process: He is believed to be just the second person — joining Frank Fallon in the 1950s and 1960s — to announce for three of Boston’s “Big Four” professional sports teams.
“The biggest sense of satisfaction was that it was so cool to be in the chair and look out at the incredible view of Boston and the unique perspective of the field at Fenway,” said Dolan, who was selected through the “Guest in the Chair” program the Red Sox established this year in memory of veteran PA announcer Carl Beane.
The only concern he had was “how I’d sound and modulate,” noting that ballparks typically have an echo. “I didn’t have much time to be nervous,” he added, pointing out that the first 20 minutes of the pre-game script were filled with introductions of individuals and groups.
Dolan, who has previously announced New England Patriots’ and Boston Bruins’ games, said the unique challenge of announcing at Fenway was finding a balance between “being reverential” to the sport of baseball and interjecting color, particularly when announcing ballplayers’ names.
“The trick is to find your own style. I tried a few things, and it went well. It really depends on each player’s name; if you can find a way to have fun with it, you do it,” said Dolan, who was getting texts and support from about 20 friends in the stands.
Dolan’s career behind the mike at Providence began as an undergraduate when he was able to announce women’s ice hockey games at Schneider Arena and baseball games at Hendricken Field as a sophomore. In his junior year, he became the first undergraduate to serve as PA announcer for a Friar men’s basketball game when he worked an exhibition contest at the Providence Civic Center, now the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Since 1999, he has been the primary back-up announcer for PC men’s basketball. Friar fans will likely best remember the bright-red-haired Dolan’s on-court routine as the excitable and boisterous in-game master of ceremonies at the “Dunk” from 2002-06.
Vice president at the McCall & Almy commercial real estate brokerage firm in Boston, Dolan has served as an announcer or in-game emcee for a dozen New England and New York colleges and universities. Currently, he is the announcer for Harvard University men’s ice hockey and for the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Championship.
He is the primary back-up announcer for the Boston Bruins and New England Patriots, having last worked a Patriots’ playoff game in January against the Denver Broncos.
His résumé as a PA announcer includes the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four Championship, the NCAA Division I, II, and III Men’s Lacrosse Championships, and the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
Two faculty members in particular influenced his announcing career, said Dolan. The history major said Dr. Donna T. McCaffrey ’73G, ’83Ph.D., & ’87G, assistant professor of history, encouraged him to use his electives wisely and suggested theatre. He ended up taking a Voice and Diction course with Wendy Overly, former adjunct professor of theatre, that helped him immensely.
Dolan also said three Department of Athletics staff members were instrumental in helping him start his announcing career: Arthur Parks, current associate athletic director for marketing and communications; John Marinatto ’79, former director of athletics and former commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference; and Tim Connor, former director of athletic media relations.
While he loves coming back for PC men’s basketball contests, he admits his favorite venue is the world’s most famous arena, New York’s Madison Square Garden, where he’s been the in-game emcee for St. John’s men’s basketball contests.
“You know the history there,” he said. “When you walk through the back hallway, you see all those posters … circuses, Frank Sinatra, Willis Reed, Elton John, and Billy Joel. Holy cow! I get a chance to be in the same building as them. It gives you a chill.”
Still, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center will always remain special, emphasized Dolan, who’s studying for his MBA at PC.
“I love being in that building and coming back to be with the crowd. It always feels like I’m home. I can’t compare it,” he said.
— Charles C. Joyce
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