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Texas A&M names Mike Fitch new PA announcer at Kyle Field
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Texas A&M names Mike Fitch new PA announcer at Kyle Field

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KYLE FIELD

Texas A&M rewarded loyalty by hiring Mike Fitch as Kyle Field’s public address announcer for the 2020 football season.

Fitch, who started behind the microphone at A&M for soccer games in 2001, has announced every sport since, including the 2007 Maroon & White football game along with announcing names at graduation since 2008. He became the full-time men’s basketball P.A. announcer at Reed Arena three years ago after the former backup shined in an eight-game audition to close the 2016-17 season. On Tuesday, Fitch added the coveted football job.

Fitch replaces former KBTX-TV general manager Mike Wright, who was recently hired as vice president/general manager of WAAY-TV, an ABC affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama. Three years ago, A&M picked Wright over Fitch and a third person who had auditioned for the job.

“This time when they called and said they had an opening, I was more than happy to jump in,” Fitch said.

Fitch said he loves doing soccer matches and men’s basketball games, which he will continue to do. That work along with filling in at softball and baseball games only whetted his appetite for football.

“You kind of wonder if it’s going to happen,” Fitch said. “You wonder if things are going to fall your way, if it’s going to come to pass.”

He said he’s looking forward to the season opener against Vanderbilt on Sept. 26.

“I think I probably will change a little bit, only because it’s football,” Fitch said. “Since the renovation of Kyle Field, I think people are looking for a little more of a show, and I say that with every intent of kind of just getting my feet underneath me at first before I start getting out there on a ledge. I’ll get my feet underneath me to just make sure I’m on track and do everything they ask.”

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Fitch, who has been a transcript analyst in the A&M office of admissions for the last five years, is a longtime season ticket holder for football.

“I understand what an incredible opportunity this is, and I’m really looking forward to it,” Fitch said. “It’s going to be a little different this year, obviously, with the reduced capacity, but that will give me a chance to get my feet underneath me a little bit.”

A&M will have five home games, its fewest since 1980 when it also had five.

A&M hired Wright in 2017 as Kyle Field’s public address announcer to replace Chace Murphy, who held the job from 2001-16. Longevity became the theme for the position after CK Esten (1954-1976) and Roger Feldman (1977-2000) combined for almost five decades of service.

Wright also called A&M Consolidated football games on the radio for 28 seasons and called A&M women’s basketball games for seven seasons, including the 2011 national championship season. Wright, who regularly served as emcee, speaker or moderator for community events, continued to be the play-by-play announcer for some A&M women’s basketball games on ESPN’s SEC Network Plus the past few seasons.

Wright said leaving Bryan-College Station was difficult “but was best long term for my family.” In Alabama, he is reunited with USA Television CEO Bob Prather, who also promoted him to be KBTX’s general manager. Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen expanded his TV station holdings last year by purchasing 11 small-market affiliates from USA Television, which included WAAY-TV.

Wright said he’s hopeful to return to B-CS this fall and call at least one Consol football game. Tap Bentz will do play-by-play for Consol football in 2020 on WTAW (1620 AM, 94.5 FM), teaming up with Mark Green, longtime analyst for Wright who started working in radio as an 11-year-old in Mexia.

Wright’s passion for sports and particularly high school football comes from his father. Bob Wright covered the Mexia football team for 56 years as sports editor of the Mexia Daily News. He was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

Mike Wright was vice president/general manager of KBTX-TV, the local CBS affiliate, from 2003-18. He joined the station in 1991 as national sales manager, soon becoming co-anchor of the station’s morning show. The 2013 “Broadcaster of the Year” by the Texas Association of Broadcasters added the role of vice president/general manager at Waco’s KWTX-TV that year, overseeing both stations owned by Gray Communications. Wright resigned in October 2018.

A&M hired Wright in March of 2019 as senior associate athletic director for communication and public relations for the athletics department. Hired by former athletics director Scott Woodward, Wright oversaw communications and branding for the department. He resigned that post this summer.

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