In January of 2021, the University of Louisville announced that Louisville alum (’94), Lance McGarvey, was selected as the University of Louisville’s public address announcer for the men’s basketball games at the YUM Center. Lance would be replacing Sean Moth who resigned after being the voice of the Cards for 21 years. Lance was the PA announcer for both men’s and women’s basketball for IU Southeast for about 10 years. Lance has been announcing Lou City games since 2015 and also does the Racing FC games.
McGarvey, an Owensboro native, was a ball boy for Kentucky Wesleyan. It was there that he heard Glenn Young, PA announcer for Wesleyan. And, it was there where it all started. In McGarvey’s words, “Hearing him, all those years, I really just had an affinity for what he did.”
Fast forward to 2023… Lance just finished witnessing the worst season in Louisville’s history from the best seat in the house. I know for Lance it’s not just a job as he is a huge fan as well. So I thought I would reach out to my friend and ask him a few questions that I thought you might like to know. I have so many more questions for him and talking with him is enjoyable and interesting. But I know his time is very limited and valuable so I kept it short. There may be a part 2 interview if you guys are interested.
Here is our conversation…
Nunn – Like myself, you are a lifelong Louisville basketball fan. Things have been rough the last few years. The hiring of KP brought in a new sense of hope and with that hope came raised expectations. What were your expectations for the first year under KP?
Lance – From Coach Payne’s opening press conference, it was clear that he knew this was going to be a tough situation. I guess my expectations were tempered, and I thought it was going to be challenging year. I don’t think anyone expected a 4 win season. There were certainly more wins for the Cards to grab, but it was probably never going to be enough to make a big impact and make this a tournament team.
Nunn – With the position as PA announcer you are a little more vested in the team than when you were just a fan only. Are the losses more frustrating as the PA announcer than they were when you were just a fan?
Lance – During the game, holding myself to professional standards I strive to never indulge my emotions – whether excitement or frustration. This can be tough! But my job is to be informative and, to some degree, entertaining. So my focus keeps me from feeling it too deeply during the games.
After the final buzzer, I definitely feel the emotions. I see the players’ faces. I see the fans round me. My own fandom kicks in. I’d say frustration isn’t the emotion. It’s more sadness or disappointment. I love winning just like everyone else!
Nunn – I saw recently on your Twitter account were you said
“Was just asked if I really think UofL can win. Of course I do. Every time we tip off. I always believe that. What’s the point if you don’t believe?”
How many times did you get asked that this season and does the lack of faith bother you?
Lance – I was asked something along those lines several times throughout the season. As a lifelong basketball fan, of course I have my “analytical opinions” just like all hoops fans. But when I sit down to watch the Cards on TV or in front of a mic, all opinions vanish, and I simply go all in and believe we will have a chance to win.
Any lack of faith from others doesn’t really bother me. I just don’t fan that way. They probably think I’m a glutton for punishment, but I can’t help it. Eternally optimistic is my blessing/ curse..
Nunn – As the PA announcer you get more access to the team than a normal fan. Being around the team is there a guy you’ve gotten to know pretty well and root for a little more than others?
Lance – I do see the players before and after games, but I almost always avoid saying much more to them than good luck or good game. When Mike James was injured last year, he would sit near me during pregame warmups. He’s a genuinely nice young man, and I’m happy when he plays well. I talked to El Ellis a couple of time to offer encouragement and appreciation for his incredible effort this year.
But, honestly, I’m thrilled when any of them play well. They’re all Louisville Cardinals, after all!
Nunn – What has been the hardest name you ever had to pronounce during a UofL game (home or visiting team)?
Lance – Pronouncing Florida A&M’s Hantz Louis-Jeune really required my focus. That one sticks out.
One true confession, I botched a national anthem singer’s name this year. Knew how to say it, but just got slightly tongue twisted. I always feel bad about that kind of thing, so I’m glad it happens very rarely.
Fortunately, the other teams’ SIDs provide a lot of help on pronunciations. It really is important to be respectful and get those right.
Nunn – I’m sure there has been many in soccer, Which was the one you dreaded to say the most in a soccer match?
Lance – During the 2021 Women’s Cup, we had Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain at Lynn Family Stadium. That was … challenging. But I think I did ok on those. Whew.
Nunn – You have the best seat in the house and you get to basically see and hear everything. Besides the dog pooping on the court, what’s the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve seen or heard at the YUM! during a game?
Lance – Definitely the rain delay just prior to the Boston College game in January 2022. How bizarre was that??!!
The dog pooping incident was the most unbelievable thing though. I mean, what the actual …. ?? LOL
Nunn – Who is your favorite Cardinal of all time?
Lance – Strictly as a basketball fan – it’s a tie. DeJuan Wheat was iconic during my mid 20’s. Absolute legend.
I absolutely loved Dwayne Sutton, too. He is a close friend of my son, Tate, so that probably influences this. But he played his heart out every time on the floor. I would take Dwayne Sutton on any team in any era.
Nunn – Have you ever said an inappropriate word over the loud speaker?
Lance – Thank goodness, no. Don’t put that evil on me!
Nunn – When a game gets out of hand, like 20 points or so, does it get hard to maintain your focus?
Lance – Just finishing my third season as PA Announcer for MBB, I have to say I’m still on pins & needles every second of every game, regardless of the score. While I’m not perfect, I strive to be for the entirety of each game. Also, Jen Hanson, who manages game production and sits right next to me, would keep me in line throughout the games should I lose focus!
Nunn – How much do you love the Jeff Brohm hire and what is you prediction for this football season?
Lance – Now I can answer strictly as a fan! I’m absolutely elated and stoked for the Jeff Brohm era. Not sure there could have been any better fit than Brohm and this football program. In this first year, I wouldn’t be surprised with 7 or 8 wins and getting to a good bowl game. In just a couple of years, I believe the Cards will be a consistent top 20 team or better. Fun times ahead for football!
Nunn – Any interest in being the football PA guy?
Lance – First and foremost, I think Michael Lattin does a fantastic job as the football PA Announcer, and I would imagine he’ll be on the mic for a long time.
Other than that, it would conflict with home Louisville City FC games frequently, and I can’t imagine not doing the LouCity games, as I’ve been with them since the very beginning.
Also, I love to tailgate for football games when I can attend, as well as have a couple of beers during the game. That would be hard to give up!
As Always, Go Cards!