By Roger Hoover
A familiar voice to East Tennessee radio listeners will have a new home in the summer of 2011.
Darren Headrick, a member of the Tennessee Smokies Radio Network for the past three seasons, will serve as a broadcast assistant to the Kinston Indians, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Cleveland Indians in the Carolina League.
“It is a tremendous opportunity,” Headrick said. “Chris Hemeyer is the lead announcer there, and he is fantastic. He has done work with East Carolina University, calling baseball games and serving as sideline reporter for football. I am really looking forward to working with him.”
Headrick will deliver the play-by-play announcing of the middle three innings of Indians home games, and will also be the public address announcer for home games at Grainger Stadium, publish daily game notes, update statistical packets for the coaching staff and the media, as well as updating the Indians videoboard.
A native of Maryville, Headrick’s voice has been heard on East Tennessee radios for the past several years. He has served as the voice Morristown Hamblen-West High School football and boys and girls basketball since 2005.
“I will say that I have enjoyed every minute working in Morristown and covering Trojans athletics,” said Headrick.”
While high school gridirons are his home on Fridays in the fall, Headrick has spent his autumn Saturdays assisting one of the largest radio networks in collegiate athletics.
Headrick began working for the Vol Network while he was a student at the University of Tennessee in 2006, producing a weekly internet segment on utsports.com. Since graduating from UT, Headrick has continued working for the Vol Network at their master control studios. His jobs have included editing in-game highlights, screening telephone calls, and during the 2010 season worked on air, delivering scores and news from high school football games across Tennessee.
“It’s been a wide gambit of responsibilities, and I have loved every minute of it,” Headrick said. “I can’t thank Steve Early, Glenn Thackston and Bob Kesling enough for the opportunities they have given me. I have made a lot of friends in my time with the Vol Network, and I cherish each one of them.”
After working in the Smokies Park press box in various roles for two seasons, Headrick earned his first break in baseball broadcasting prior to the 2008 season. Headrick joined the Smokies Radio Network as a broadcasting assistant, hosting the Pilot Oscar-Mayer Pregame Show and Tenth Inning Wrap-Up Show in addition to contributing to the game broadcast.
Headrick credited Smokies director of broadcasting Mick Gillispie with teaching him some of the nuances of baseball play-by-play, and expressed gratitude to Smokies general manager Brian Cox and team president Doug Kirchhofer for the opportunity to work with Tennessee.
“The rigors of being a full-time broadcaster in minor league baseball are tremendous,” said Headrick. “But I am confident in my abilities to get the job done because I have had so many great people to learn from, Mick included.”
Headrick spent two years as the broadcasting assistant for the Smokies, including the 2009 season where Tennessee, managed by Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, won the North Division title and advanced to the Southern League Championship Series.
2010 saw a change for Headrick, as he joined the Coastal Plains League’s Wilson Tobs as their radio play-by-play announcer. The Tobs advanced to the playoffs with Headrick behind the microphone, and after the season he returned to Tennessee to assist the Smokies Radio Network as the Smokies made their second straight appearance in the Southern League Championship Series.
Headrick said he enjoyed his time with Wilson, where he worked under the new general manager in Kinston, Ben Jones.
“Ben called me in early December to tell me he was taking the job with Kinston, and wouldn’t return to Wilson, said Headrick.” We talked originally about us possibly working together in the future, and he mentioned that Chris usually hires a no. 2 guy. I mentioned that I would be interested in hearing about the opportunity.
“Next thing I know, I’m on the phone with Chris and I have the job.”
Headrick will continue calling Trojans basketball for WMTN radio until he makes the move to Kinston. Fans can keep up with Headrick and the Indians by visiting www.kinstonindians.com.