Pat Morrison has one of the most recognizable voices in South Dakota.
And it has been for generations.
Morrison, 88, has been broadcasting radio games since 1956. KOLY-FM Radio in Mobridge went on the air that year and Morrison has been the voice of the Mobridge Tigers since.
“I’m the only sports director they have ever had really,” said Morrison, who is known for his sharp and witty delivery on air.
Morrison was recently named the South Dakota High School Coaches Association broadcaster of the year. He was honored at the state coaches convention July 17 in Aberdeen.
“Any time you are recognized by your peers, the guys you are doing business with, it is a special deal,” Morrison said. “Especially due to the fact that I have been around these many years. I have been through about two generations of players and parents and grandfathers and all of that. So anything like that is always special.”
A 1944 Mobridge graduate, Morrison’s career as an athlete, referee and broadcaster has spanned eight decades. He has been inducted into South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame, the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and the South Dakota Amateur Basketball Hall of Fame.
“When they get around to honoring you, it is always a great feeling,” said Morrison, who could carry on a conversation all day about South Dakota sports.
Of all his achievements, Morrison is perhaps most proud of being a member of the Mobridge boys’ basketball teams that won state titles in 1943 and ’44. He said those were the only two state titles for Mobridge in school history.
“We won both of those championships on the Aberdeen Civic Arena floor,” Morrison said.
In 1951, he was asked by a friend to help referee some basketball games.
“I told him ‘I did a lot crazy things in my lifetime, but officiating is not going to be one of them,’ ” Morrison recalled.
He continued to referee basketball until 1985 and officiated several games for the now defunct North Central Conference. During that time, he continued to work on the radio.
“I was broadcasting and I was doing play-by-play and then kind of expanding my officiating,” Morrison said. “Those years I worked in the North Central, I basically drove by car. That was about three states. I covered a lot of ground. I get tired just thinking about it.”
Morrison has seldom ridden with the Mobridge teams to games. He usually drives by himself and the Tigers have to go long distances for their games. Mobridge-Pollock will go as far as Britton (150 miles), Sisseton (190 miles) and Winner (200 miles) for contests. The Tigers’ football team will play at St. Thomas More in Rapid City (240 miles) this season.
One of the closest trips is when the Tigers face rival Cheyenne-Eagle Butte. Mobridge is 80 miles from Eagle Butte. The rivalry is one of the biggest in South Dakota and Morrison has seen his share of classic Braves and Tigers contests over the years.
“That rivalry is a very special rivalry,” Morrison said. “It has been for many, many years. Whenever we play it is something special, regardless of the records of the teams and the fans regard it that way.”
“They have had awful good basketball out there in Eagle Butte.”
Morrison is frequently asked how much longer he will continue to be the voice of the Mobridge Tigers.
“I’m going to do it as long as my health hangs in there and the big thing is you still got to want to do it,” Morrison said. “That is the big thing, is you still have to have a desire to really do it.”
He then added that he still gets the same feeling before a game as he did when he first started in 1956.
“Let’s put it this way,” he said, “the adrenaline still starts coming pretty good.”
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