By Travis Mounts
There’s a different sound at Cheney Stadium.
Harold Bohm, the voice of Cardinals home football games and basketball games for 45 years, has hung up the microphone and retired. Bohm was honored for his decades of service at halftime of the Cardinals home football game on Aug. 31.
Bohm called his first football game in the fall of 1972, and took on basketball duties in the 1972-73 season. He didn’t have an answer when asked how he got the job.
“I don’t know, I’m trying to figure that out,” he said with a laugh.
Bohm taught at Cheney High School before taking a job at Wichita North. In 1972, Bohm came back to Cheney to work at Citizens State Bank.
The high school was opening a new press bock on top of the stadium.
“They needed a fresh voice,” he said. “They asked me to give it a whirl, and I did.”
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Harold and his wife, Gwen, are the parents of four children. At the time, their kids were in junior high and grade school. Bohm knew they’d be coming up through the ranks, and he had the chance to announce games involving all four kids.
By the time his children were involvement in high school games, Bohm was comfortable behind the mic and had his own style.
“I always tried to tell it like it was,” he said.
Football involved talking through the entire game, but at the time basketball announcing was basically limited to announcing the starting lineups before the games. Overtime, announcers began introducing substitutes, identifying scorers after each basket, and becoming more of the game.
Bohm recalled one basketball against Remington, a loss for Cheney. His son, Mark scored 36 points, but Remington’s top scorer, James Regier had 39 points. Cheney lost by four points, Bohm said, adding the Regeir is now Remington’s superintendent.
The 1980-81 boys basketball season stands out.
“We played Garden Plain four times, and we came away with three out of four wins or all four,” Bohm said. He also had a front-row seat for the Cheney girls’ 2009-10 season, when they went 26-0 and won the 4A State title.
“That was a good season to call. Almost everyone knew what was going to happen. We had some talent,” he said.
While there were many basketball successes, Bohm said he liked calling football the best.
“It seemed like with football, the people are more involved. They seemed to appreciate what you did announcing the game,” he said.
In addition to calling home varsity games, he called many of the junior varsity games. That would often add up to 10 or more home games. Bohm likely called more than 500 football games and 900 basketball games.
“Our fans have always been real supportive,” he said. “There have been a lot of terrific athletes to come through Cheney.”
Bohm, 86, plans to spend more times with Gwen watching their grandchildren, who are involved with basketball, cross country and track at Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High School. He also works part-time with Resthaven Mortuary, driving families, passing out programs, and doing what needs to be done to care for grieving families. He’s had the job for 18 years.
“When I retired from the back, I wanted to play a lot of golf. And I did that for a while,” he said.
In the end, he’ll always have many fond memories of so many seasons.
“I really enjoyed what I was doing, and working with the coaches and players through the years,” he said. “We’re really blessed with the number of good athletes who have come through the Cheney school system.”