Hawthorne’s calls made him iconic among LSU faithful

By C. Kent Lowe

The Voice. That Recognizable Voice.

A voice that tells you whether fourth and goal results in a touchdown and a win, whether a late three-pointer is good or not, and, calls the walk-off chance for victory or defeat.

That’s what “The Voice” does for multitudes of fan at colleges and universities all over this country. He is the one who paints the pictures for those listening on radio or these days a favorite mobile device.

For more than one generation of fans at LSU, Jim Hawthorne is the only “Voice of the Tigers” they’ve known. He’s been (to use that cliché) the soundtrack of our lives to know the good and bad of LSU sports. What LSU fans have adored is that soundtrack has told you a lot about how Hawthorne has felt about what has happened to the Tigers and they usually respond in kind.

For his longstanding work in painting word pictures for well over 50 years at places like Northwestern State, Centenary, the Texas League, the World Football League and since 1980 (many years calling the three major men’s sports on the campus) at LSU, Jim Hawthorne will be one of two recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism as presented by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Saturday, June 25, at the annual induction ceremonies for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

What would you expect to be Jim’s reaction when told he was one of the recipient of this year’s award?

“Holy Cow!”

It is a phrase heard often over the last 36 years first at LSU basketball, then football and baseball, as Hawthorne became the voice of LSU Tiger fans.  When he said it, nine-times-out-of-10 it meant something good was happening for the Tigers.

Some of those good things at LSU included:

22 bowl games in football.

2 of LSU’s national championships (2003, 2007)

6 SEC Basketball titles

3 NCAA Final Four appearances

17 College World Series appearances

6 national championship victories in the CWS

All part of thousands of play-by-play broadcasts, coach’s radio shows and more that Hawthorne was at the microphone for.

“It’s just really be overwhelming, humbling, people that want to take a picture or ask me to sign something or just come up and say hi,” Hawthorne said. “Some of the college kids that come up and talk to me, they’ve never heard anyone else do an LSU game. I’m the only one that they know as the voice of LSU. That’s neat to know that – that you’ve been around that long.”