EASTON, Pa. - Jim Finnen, who has served as the Lafayette College public address announcer for five decades will retire from the post at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year. Finnen, who is entering his 50th season behind the microphone for Lafayette basketball and football, will serve as the stadium announcer for the 150th Meeting of Lafayette-Lehigh on Nov. 22 in Yankee Stadium. He will be recognized at halftime of football's home opener versus Robert Morris and at the Lafayette vs. Lehigh men's and women's basketball games.
"My association with Lafayette College has spanned more than 50 years," Finnen said. "It has been a warm, rewarding experience working and interacting with the ball players, coaches, administrators and all of their families during that time."
The "Golden Voice" of Lafayette Athletics was introduced to the Lehigh Valley in 1961, working as the news director of WEST-AM 1400 while also calling Leopard football and basketball games on the air. Upon leaving the station, he was invited to become Lafayette's public address announcer. His first season behind the mic at Fisher Field concluded with the 101st game in the Lafayette-Lehigh rivalry.
"All of us in the Lafayette community and beyond congratulate Jim on his extraordinary career as the public address announcer for Lafayette Athletics. Jim's exemplary 50-year career has left an indelible mark on countless Lafayette student-athletes, fans and families," said Lafayette Director of Athletics Bruce McCutcheon. "I send my personal thanks and deep appreciation for Jim's dedicated professionalism and friendship over these many years. I look forward to hearing the `Golden Voice' these precious last times over the coming football and basketball seasons."
Finnen missed just three home football games since he arrived on College Hill: Oct. 26, 1974, a 24-18 loss to Colgate, and a pair of season-opening wins over Kutztown in the late 1980s. Lafayette is 166-118-7 at Fisher Stadium with Finnen manning the public address system. He announced his 200th game in 2003, a 35-17 win over Bucknell in the home finale. The longevity of Finnen's service to Lafayette is nearly equaled by that of his football spotter, Tom Golden.
The Highland Falls, N.Y. native has been behind the microphone for more than 800 basketball games at Kirby Sports Center (and Alumni Memorial Gym). Finnen also was chosen to announce conference tournament and championship games in the MAC and ECC and has announced nearly 100 Patriot League Tournament basketball games.
"Jim has been a distinguished voice not only for Lafayette, but for the entire Patriot League with his work at League tournaments and events," said Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Executive Director of the Patriot League. "We look forward to a final year of his distinct announcements and wish him well in future endeavors."
Finnen was inducted into the Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 1998 and remains one of just two inductees who was not a student-athlete, coach or administrator at the College.
Finnen and his wife, the former Beatrice Lehan, are both members of the class of 1954 from the University at Albany. He is retired from The Stroh Brewery Company of Detroit, Mich. They have four children and three grandchildren and reside in Palmer Township. Finnen will continue his public announcing, serving as a church lector at St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Easton while also offering his services as a fill-in roll for College events.
Waiting in the wings to replace Finnen is Dan Mowdy who has been involved with local sports for more than 20 years. Mowdy has been a member of the Lafayette Sports Network announcing crew since 2000. He served as a public address announcer at the Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) Olympics in addition to his work for World Championships, U.S. Olympic Trials and National Championships in cycling and gymnastics. Mowdy is currently the host of RCN's Community Spotlight interview show in the Lehigh Valley and Delaware Valley.