Long time SMU broadcaster to retire

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

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BY DIC HUMPHREY
DHUMPHREY24@GMAIL.COM
Member United States Basketball Writers Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – This Sunday, SMU basketball radio voice  Allen Stone will call his last SMU home game.   Stone has been on the  SMU basketball radio broadcasts since the 1993-94 season, but that comes to an end later this month when he retires.  He will close a career of more than five decades in the Dallas media, a career that has been characterized by style, grace, and broadcast excellence.

Stone was headed for seminary school after he graduated from SMU in 1969, but instead the communications aspects of his education led him to news media. He worked for KRLD radio and later moved to WRR, which at the time was an all-news station.  Brad Sham was the sports anchor, but Sham became disillusioned with that end of the business and took a public relations job in another city, leaving the sports job open.  Stone slid in to replace Sham starting his sports broadcasting career.

He realized quickly that being in sports media is what he enjoyed most.  That led to joining Channel 4 as the weekend sports anchor in the days when Channel 4 was a CBS affiliate  He became one of the original Dallas Mavericks’ employees as P. R. Director when Mavericks came into being in 1980.  That led to radio and television broadcasts of Mavs games until 1993.
One of his partners on the Mavs’ telecasts was Norm Hitzges. When contacted, Hitzges was more than willing to contribute to this
article. He said,
“I so fondly remember the years I spent as Allen’s broadcast partner doing Mavericks’ games.  After my morning sports talk show, we’d meet, usually at White Rock Lake, and go on a walk going over talking points and observations for our broadcast of that night’s game.  One of the best things about broadcasting wonderful, major sporting events is being able to do so alongside a good friend and that’s what Allen was for me those years—-a terrific play-by-play man and even better, a very good friend.”

When the Mavericks’ gig came to an end, Stone was contacted by Forrest Gregg, then SMU’s Athletic Director.  He was looking for a voice for SMU basketball, and Stone joined for the 1993-94 season. He’s been involved ever since.  The close of this season will cap 26 years of SMU basketball broadcasting.

Stone has witnessed a lot of SMU sports history.  He was in school as a student when Head Football Coach Hayden Fry integrated the Southwest Conference by bringing Jerry LeVias to the program.  He saw the end of the Doc Hays era of basketball with the team winning three straight Southwest Conference Championships to close his legendary coaching career.  He’s reveled at the basketball program earlier this decade with Larry Brown putting together good teams and building a special kinship with fans in the newly remodeled Moody Coliseum. Stone commented that the best SMU basketball team he’s seen was the 2016-17 team that set the school record with 30 wins.

Stone looks with pride at some of the people he has helped get into broadcasting that have gone on to successful careers.  Two in
particular stand out – Rich Lerner, now with the Golf Channel, and Scott Franzke, the Philadelphia Phillies play-by-play radio voice. Franzke is a name that unfortunately is not extremely well known among Dallas-Ft. Worth sports fans.  He’s a graduate of W. T. White High School and S. M. U.  Earlier this century, he was part of the Rangers’ radio broadcasts, most notably on the air with the post-game call-in show.  He moved on to become one of the great radio voices in baseball with the Phillies.

Franzke knew of Stone when he was a kid following the Mavericks on TV.  When he was in college, he got to know Stone personally.
“I was totally intimidated by being on press row with him when I started doing basketball games on the student station. As it turned out, Allen gave me my first real job in radio coming out of college, for Prime Sports Radio.  Allen was program director, and I was hired as a producer of the morning show.  I had to get up real early every morning, usually arriving around 4:30 AM.  One morning, I completely missed the alarm.  Woke up around 6:00.  I don’t think I’ve ever driven so fast trying to get to the office.  When the show ended, we had a staff meeting.  I was so scared.  This was my first job, and I hadn’t had it for very long.  I figured his wrath was coming.  Allen came in and his first words to the group were, ‘Well, did everyone get enough sleep last night?’  He smiled, and I knew that it was all going to be okay.”

Stone has sold his house in the Lakewood area and plans to move out of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area this summer.
“I think the first year, it’ll be better to be away from Dallas. I’m going to miss it.  I definitely want to come back and see some
games next year.  It’s (leaving) bitter sweet.”

Going out like this is optimum in Stone’s view.
“I feel fortunate that I can go out the way I’m going out.”
He’s fortunate to be leaving when he wants to as opposed to being told to go.
“I get to see a lot of people and thank them,” as he makes the circuit of the final games he’ll broadcast.

He leaves a legacy of a lot of satisfied sports fans in the D/FW area who have followed basketball through his eyes.  He leaves a
legacy of helping a lot of people get into and succeed in the business. Franzke said about Stone’s tutelage,
“He taught me a lot about radio, let me work, let me learn, let me make mistakes; just basically he let me grow into what I was going to become as an on-air person.”

Franzke talked about bumping into Stone in the Tampa Airport last year during spring training.  They had a pleasant exchange, but “As we walked away, and he went to his flight and I went to catch mine, I couldn’t help but think that I wouldn’t have been there that day in that airport or doing this job without what Allen did for me.”

This Sunday, SMU will recognize his years of service at halftime of their game against Wichita State.  It’s an honor that is richly
deserved.  He still has at least three more games to announce after Sunday’s – at Houston and South Florida next week to finish the
regular season, and at least one game in the American Athletic Conference post-season tournament beginning on Thursday, March 14. He’ll be missed.

A special thanks to Norm Hitzges and Scott Franzke for their
contributions to this article.

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