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Collected Wisdom: Larry Reece, voice of Oklahoma State athletics/associate athletic director for development

The “Voice of the Cowboys and Cowgirls” talks about how he got his start, how he started calling Bryant Reeves “Big Country” and what the 2011-12 football season meant.
COMPILED BY GINA MIZELL Published: April 14, 2012

photo - Larry Reece began announcing OSU game while he was still a student, and he now has 22 years experience on the mic. Photo From The Oklahoman Archive
Larry Reece began announcing OSU game while he was still a student, and he now has 22 years experience on the mic. Photo From The Oklahoman Archive

Oklahoma State fans know Larry Reece as the “Voice of the Cowboys and Cowgirls,” coining popular catchphrases like “Gallagher-Iba Arena — the rowdiest arena in the country,” “Here comes Bullet!” and “They call him Big Country.” He is also OSU's associate athletic director for development, where his primary responsibility is fundraising.

A native of Miami, Okla., Reece graduated from OSU's journalism school in 1993 but began announcing football, men's basketball and women's basketball games while he was still a student.

During his 22 years on the mic, Reece has experienced the rise of the football program from an 0-10-1 season during his first year in 1991 to the Big 12 championship last season. He's watched the Cowboy basketball program reach the Final Four twice and built a relationship with legendary coach Eddie Sutton. And he's been close to the two plane crash tragedies that killed 10 members of the men's basketball program in 2001 and women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and program supporters Olin and Paula Branstetter last November.

My dad was my first influence when I was playing Little League. He was always either coaching or helping out or announcing them games when I played. I thought it was so cool that my dad was on the mic. I hit one home run over the fence in my entire life and I remember my dad calling the home run. As I'm rounding second I hear him say “That's my boy.” Then later on in the season, he was calling the game after ours and he let me do an inning. I was hooked at that point.

I had a great instructor (at OSU) named Ed Paulin that I didn't even know knew who I was. I was relatively new on campus and I was in his sports practicum class. Back in the day, what that meant was you could actually go to the games either at Lewis Field or Gallagher-Iba Arena and you'd take a cassette tape recorder with you. You had two microphones and two headsets, and you and a buddy went and called the game and recorded it on that cassette tape. He had kind of taken note of me, I guess.

(Former Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations) Steve Buzzard called over (to Paulin) looking for somebody to call Cowgirl basketball games. He's from Quapaw, Okla. and I'm from Miami, Okla., so we hit it off with our eastern Oklahoma connections. He just needed to fill a hole. He was just trying to find somebody to do the games, so he didn't even try me out. He just said, “Do you want the job?” and I said “Absolutely.”

The next year, Steve stuck his neck out for this little student and said, “I want this young guy to do football and men's basketball.” It was really a political move at the time, because there were two faculty members who had been doing football and basketball for 20-plus years. So Steve stuck his neck on the line, and luckily for me, it worked out, because I've been doing games for about 22 years in Stillwater.

I got the opportunity to work with Bill Platt, the legendary voice of the Cowboys for 40-plus years and actually got to call some Cowboy baseball games with him. With him, I learned you're not the story. You don't have to talk through everything. Sometimes silence is good. Let the people listening on radio hear the crowd go crazy.

There's not a more caring guy than Eddie Sutton. He writes more handwritten notes (than anybody). If my handwriting was better, I would do the same thing. I don't know how a guy as busy as him could reach out so much to so many people. (He would) send flowers if he heard somebody was in the hospital or a caring note if somebody was ill. He's just one of the best. I learned a lot from Eddie Sutton as far as even if you think you're busy, it's important to reach out to people. And even if you don't know what to say in a down time or a tragic time, just being there is what's important. People aren't going to remember what you said. They're going to remember that you reached out to them in their time of need.

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