Ken Weprin is the one who says, "Welcome to Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena!" Over and over and over.. This week, he might have the world's most famously daunting schedule.
The East Meadow resident is the public address announcer for college basketball at Madison Square Garden and has been for 11 years. He loves it. He has to love it or else he couldn't work eight consecutive games in two days, as he did Tuesday and Wednesday.
That is a lot of lineup introductions, a deluge of baskets and fouls to announce, tons of substitutions, not to mention the endless waves of promotions. He introduces and narrates the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup free throw shooting contest and the New York Life giant dice roll and the ads for Fat Annie's Truck Stop and many other sponsors.
He lives for such a week, although he had to take a break. He took Thursday off and was back at it for the semifinals Friday and will be on the microphone for the final Saturday.
Weprin was not daunted by having to pronounce the names on 16 rosters. "You always talk to the SID before the game," he said, referring to each school's sports information director. "It's not that hard. St. John's, I know.
"I used to watch Bob Sheppard walk around to the opposing team, getting the pronunciations."
Not only has he been doing this at the Garden for 11 years, he has been the public address announcer at Hofstra games for the past 21. He also is a statistician at Knicks games. So he knew the Garden's popular director of operations, Josephine Traina. She knew he worked the mike for Hofstra so she offered him the Garden college ball gig when Bobby Goldwater left.
It has been a good week, for the most part. Back-to-back quadruple-headers Tuesday and Wednesday were a little rough.
"The fatigue was very bad," he said. "I can't do eight in a row next year."
He has been assured that they'll change the schedule at the 2010 Big East Tournament.