86 Days Until Kickoff - YYEESSS, Spartan Stadium PA Announcer, Dusty Rhodes

86 Days Until Kickoff - YYEESSS, Spartan Stadium PA Announcer, Dusty Rhodes

Football

86 Days Until Kickoff - YYEESSS, Spartan Stadium PA Announcer, Dusty Rhodes

In 1986, Michigan State beat Notre Dame 20-15 in East Lansing.  More importantly, within the full broadcast below, Spartans can hear the clear-as-a-bell sounds of the greatest Public Address Announcer of all time, Spartan Stadium’s legendary Dusty Rhodes.

Contact @crowleysullivan

If you’re a Spartan of a certain age, you have a voice forever burned into your mind – and your heart.

And it is not the voice of the lead singer of “Goober And The Peas.”

( see this important piece to properly appreciate the reference to “Goober And The Peas” –

https://spartanswire.com/2018/06/07/setting-the-record-straight-on-goober-and-the-peas/ )

Back before the days of FacePage and TwitSnap, the Spartan Stadium experience was punctuated by the never-to-be-forgotten voice of the public address announcer who’s voice is as synonymous with Autumn Saturdays in East Lansing as the leaves changing colors along the banks of the Red Cedar River.

With the magic of the archaic speakers that created a romantic sound of a grizzled sage who could see every aspect of the happenings on the field from somewhere on high, Dusty Rhodes delivered the goods throughout Spartan football games with a fascinating wizardry that was part of a cocktail that included the Spartan Marching Band, the roars of the crowd, students “surfing” in the student section, and George Perles prioritizing the punt.

If you were someone who nestled into your spot in Spartan Stadium early enough, you knew that the five+ hour extravaganza inside of the old stadium had officially commenced when you heard this crackle through the speakers from the day’s unofficial host, “This is Dusty Rhodes, your Saturday spokesman for Spartan Football.”

I can remember hearing those words being spoken from my tailgate spot and getting chills every time the voice echoed through the beer- and grill-filled air.

On plays when a gang tackle was made by a more than one Spartan defender, Dusty would complete the play with a staccato, “…..Smothered……..by a host……of Spartans…..”

There was zero dramatic effect integrated into the man’s voice.

And this, in and of itself, made the man’s voice more dramatic than Joan Crawford’s performance in “Mildred Pierce.”

I was a freshman when Spartan All American Harlan Barnett snagged Miami Hurricanes’ quarterback (and future Heisman Trophy winner) Gino Toretta’s errant pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.  Spartan Stadium erupted like nothing I had ever experienced.

As the crowd went completely bananas, I have a vivid recollection of noticing how radically staid the public address announcer was in the moment.

Barnett had just executed a scintillating pick-six that tied the Spartans with the #1 ranked team in the country and the place was literally out of control.

And the even, monotone, somewhat distorted voice came through the speakers with a magic that I can feel even right now –

“…..Harlan Barnett……….35 yards…on the interception……touchdown…Michigan State…….”

And when John Langeloh split the uprights on the point after, Dusty let out the so familiar and so assuring, “….Yeeess…….” followed by the almost perfunctory, “…………..Michigan State…20…..Miami….20…”

Go to 2:08:30 for the Barnett pick here –

Public address announcers have often loved to become a personality within the circus of the experience at big time sporting events.

Dusty Rhodes worked hard to integrate a precise, self-effacing, and intimate voice into our experience at Spartan Stadium for decades.

It’s the sound and voice that, more than anything else (with the possible exception of the two or three tasty cans of beer I’d enjoy during those rare periods of my undergraduate career when I’d let my hair down with acquaintances), will always represent my Fall Saturdays in East Lansing.

Do you, with your pals, ever imitate the sound of “The clock is correct………and official…”?

I do.

I often do it with friends who have never even been to East Lansing and have zero idea of what I’m even talking about.

Whenever I leave any stadium or outdoor event of any kind with my family, at some point while we’re walking out of the joint, I say, out loud (and to nobody in particular since nobody knows what I’m actually referring to), “Please drive……as if your family…..is in…the other car….”

And, to this day, any time I ever see a PAT successfully converted (in any football game of any kind), I say, out loud and to nobody in particular, “…Yeeesss….”

If you want to get a really good earful of Dusty, check out this CBS broadcast of Michigan State’s 1986 win over Notre Dame in which it appears as though the CBS audio engineers loved Dusty as much as the rest of us did.

God bless you, Dusty.

We hope you’ve been enjoying all of the magical moments that have been keeping us all excited from your perch in the Spartan Stadium in the sky…

OBITUARY

Clarence “Dusty” E. Rhodes

AUGUST 8, 1927 – AUGUST 28, 2010
Obituary of Clarence "Dusty" E. Rhodes

Clarence “Dusty” Rhodes was born August 8, 1927 and died peacefully following a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s on August 28, 2010. He was born in Flint, Michigan to Walter H. Rhodes and Edith Gleason Rhodes. He is preceded in death by his brothers Jack and Leon and his stepson Paul Sikarskie. He is survived by his wife Marcia, 5 children; Martha (Mark) Bashore, Beth (Greg) Boyd, Jane (Jim) Wolfe, Dan (Julie) Rhodes and Matt (Caryn) Rhodes, his former wife Mary Rhodes, 2 stepchildren David Sikarskie and Anya (Brian) Anderson, and 9 grandchildren.

He graduated from Flint Central in 1945 then served in the US Navy 1945-1946. He graduated from MSU in 1950 with a degree in broadcasting and began his radio career at WKAR in East Lansing. He often spoke of how fortunate he was to have benefited from the GI Bill. He worked in radio throughout Michigan until 1964 when he became vice-president of Panax Corp. which expanded his career to include newspaper publishing and television until 1974. His international career in TV news began as president of UPITN in London. With UPITN he traveled extensively around the globe. Under his leadership it expanded to serve 120 clients in over 70 countries. He established the first daily international satellite news transmission.

Upon retirement from TV news he returned to his home town of Okemos. With a new appreciation of international cuisine and wine, he founded a series of businesses starting with Elysee Boulangerie in 1980, Dusty’s Cellar in 1981, Dusty’s Wine Bar in 1987 and Dusty’s English Inn 1990 . All of his children worked with him before moving on to careers of their own. His son Matt purchased the Cellar and Wine Bar in 1995 and now employs numerous staff including third generation family members.

One of Dusty’s great loves was to welcome fans to Spartan Stadium with the words “This is Dusty Rhodes your Saturday spokesman for Spartan Football”. He would close with the phrase “Please drive as if your family is in the other car.” He loves MSU sports and did radio play by play for many years including the famous 1966 10-10 tie with Notre Dame. In 2005 MSU honored Dusty for his contributions to the university and the community by granting him a Distinguished Alumni Award.

He served this community as a member of the Okemos School Board and was actively involved in the OAKS athletic program.

He loved his wife Marcia and together took great pleasure in their home and gardens on Buttercup Lane, their cottage near Bath, England and their love of good food, good wine and one another.

In spite of a very humble childhood, he became an incredibly positive life force. He shared with family, friends and customers, an appreciation for the finer things in life, but more so for the simple pleasures of family, health and happiness. We will all miss his energy, enthusiasm kindness and positive outlook on life. He loved us all and we loved him very much.

The Memorial Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, September 1, 11:00 AM at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 955 Alton Rd., East Lansing with the Rev. Mark Inglot, officiating. The family will receive friends at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 1730 E. Grand River Avenue, East Lansing, Monday from 6-8 PM and Tuesday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM with a Scripture service at 7:30PM.

Those desiring may make contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association, 310 N. Main St, Suite 100, Chelsea, MI, 48118 in memory of Dusty.

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