COAST CITIES – High school football announcer can now be added to the already impressive list of careers and skills sportswriter Dan McLellan has on his resume. McLellan, the Chargers rapid reporter for CBS Sports began his latest endeavor last Friday by announcing his first-ever game for the Torrey Pines High School Falcons.
McLellan took over the announcing reigns from Sam Posner who retired after 22 years teaching and announcing at the school.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity because Torrey Pines is very much a high-profile school,” McLellan said. “I haven’t done (announcing) before; I do have mic experience, but not doing it announcing football games, so in some ways I’m a little bit nervous about that, but I’m very focused on trying to do it as professionally as I can.”
McLellan’s also aware that many of the fans that have been coming out to the games for a long time are used to hearing Posner’s voice and have certain expectations for how the games should be called.
He knows that Posner left some big shoes to follow, and that he has some work to do to find his own voice and to be able to set a fun environment during the games.
“I know that there’ll be some fans, that when they hear my voice for the first time, are going to be ‘who is that guy?’ because they are so used to hearing Sam,” McLellan said.
McLellan is a graduate of Granite Hills High School, who earned his bachelor’s degree in theater from SDSU and a master’s degree in film from National University.
McLellan is seemingly the personification of entertainment. He’s acted in films and TV shows like “Veronica Mars” and on stage. He can juggle, perform magic and make balloon sculptures. He’s worked as the cruise director for Holland America, where he met his wife Abby, a Torrey Pines graduate and math teacher at Torrey Pines High. Working on cruise ships was something that he thought he would do for the rest of his life.
But then he started to think about other dream jobs he wanted to pursue and sports reporting was right up there, he explained, though he knew that nobody was just going to give him an opportunity to go and do it.
“I contacted radio stations and they would offer me interns, at the time you needed to be enrolled at a college to be an intern, and I already had a master’s degree…so what I ended up doing is I started a podcast aimed at gaining experience on my own,” McLellan said.
That was about four years ago, he said.
The podcasts began simply with McLellan just talking for 30 to 40 minutes, doing recaps of the Charger games and talking about key match ups and looking forward to upcoming games.
“I tried to get a guest on as often as I possibly could,” McLellan said. “And one of my original guests that came on a regular basis was Tom Krasovic.”
The two had met while Krasovic was covering the Padres for the Union-Tribune. A friendship developed between the pair and after Krasovic had been laid off by the U-T, McLellan offered advice on how to begin using social media sites and doing self-promotions.
It wasn’t long after starting the podcast that McLellan met the owner of sandiego.com and was given the opportunity to write for them.
Krasovic had since become the rapid reporter for CBS Sports and last year, after he left the position, he recommended McLellan for the job.
Before taking to the announcer’s booth, McLellan went to the pool of his friends in the business to get some advice. Ben Higgins, the sports broadcaster for Channel 10 and Torrey Pines grad told him to just go slow and enunciate. “I think that is excellent advice,” McLellan said.
He also received advice from Posner, who told him to beware of the delay on the mic because it can be extremely distracting to say something and hear it back a few seconds later. He also said not to lose focus during a blowout game. “It’s important to maintain that focus throughout the entire game, you don’t want a play to go by and not say anything because you didn’t see what happened.”
McLellan said that the past two years covering the Chargers from nearly every angle will help with his announcing, but added that he’s not bringing any commentary to the game, that he’s simply reporting the facts of what happened on the field.
As for developing his style, it’s something that he said he hopes to accomplish over time. “Right now, what I’m doing is I’m taking the roster and rehearsing the names,” he said. “I’m trying to get as acquainted with those names as I can; I’m hoping I don’t butcher anybody’s name.”
The next Falcons home game will be Sept. 16 against Olympian.