January 24, 2014

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Dad’s commitment reflects the value of school volunteers

Pete Corrao began his 25 years as volunteer announcer for Our Lady of Providence Jr.-Sr. High School in Clarksville long before his three sons played football for the school. From left, his son, Phil, a 1999 Providence graduate, is now an assistant coach for the team; Spencer just finished his junior season at Hanover College; and Tony just finished his senior season at Providence. Pete holds Phil’s daughter, Reagan. (Submitted photo)

Pete Corrao began his 25 years as volunteer announcer for Our Lady of Providence Jr.-Sr. High School in Clarksville long before his three sons played football for the school. From left, his son, Phil, a 1999 Providence graduate, is now an assistant coach for the team; Spencer just finished his junior season at Hanover College; and Tony just finished his senior season at Providence. Pete holds Phil’s daughter, Reagan. (Submitted photo)

By Christa Hoyland (Special to The Criterion)

CLARKSVILLE—Catholic schools depend on their volunteers, many of whom help out for a season and then move on when their children do.

Some, like Pete Corrao of New Albany, give their time willingly for decades.

During the last 25 years, Corrao has been the volunteer announcer for home football games at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville, and fans have equated his voice with Providence football.

Next season there will be a new voice, as Corrao announced at the last home game that he would not be back behind the microphone for the 2014 season.

Corrao began his volunteer career of announcing Providence football games when his oldest son, Phil—a 1999 graduate of Providence—was just 8 years old, long before Phil and his younger brothers, Spencer, a 2011 graduate, and Tony, a senior, put on a Providence Pioneer uniform.

In those 25 seasons, he announced a couple hundred football games as well as a few baseball and girls’ basketball games—all as a volunteer.

For Corrao, a 1972 graduate of Providence, it was more of a fun pastime announcing for a school and sport that he loves.

While a student at Providence, he was a standout offensive lineman as a varsity football player and went on to play football at Hanover College in Madison, where his son, Phil, later played and his son, Spencer, just finished his junior season as an all-conference running back. When his sons played at Providence, announcing the games was even more enjoyable.

Corrao said he also liked being part of a press box crew that included former classmates and football teammates, many of whom also spent a number of years volunteering, from operating the game clock and scoreboard to overseeing the media personnel.

“It’s a family atmosphere [in the press box],” Corrao said. Unlike press box crews at public schools who are paid, “Providence is all volunteers, people doing it because they want to do it.”

Corrao was known for his recognition of individual players when announcing the results of a play, particularly offensive linemen. Having been an offensive lineman and offensive line coach, Corrao said he purposely called the names of those players whose blocking helped big plays succeed.

“I try to give a shout out to as many people as I can,” he said. “The kids—and parents—want to hear their names, and fans want to hear the play.”

Corrao also was a volunteer head coach for youth football teams in the New Albany Deanery for 20 years, ending when his youngest son became a freshman.

Previously, he had been on coaching staffs at the college level, including at the College of the Holy Cross, University of Dayton and Eastern Kentucky University.

He is now a part-time defensive coach at Hanover and vice president of Neace Lukens, a Louisville, Ky.-based insurance and risk management company. He lives in New Albany with his wife, Suzanne, also a Hanover graduate. They also have a daughter, Christina Tumbleson, a 2001 Providence graduate, and three grandchildren.

Corrao said he will miss announcing the games and being in the press box with his friends and Providence parents, but he felt it was the right time.

“It’s kind of hard to leave, but I think after 25 years of people listening to me, it’s time for somebody else,” he said.

Mickey Golembeski, Providence athletic director, said Corrao will be difficult to replace. Golembeski, whose sons were on some of the same teams as Corrao’s sons, has long appreciated Corrao’s willingness to help wherever needed.

“He sacrificed a great deal of his personal time and funds to help us out, to the extent of supplying other workers in the press box area,” Golembeski said. “His absence will be felt in so many ways. Every school should be as blessed as we have been to have such a dedicated individual. You could always count on Pete.”
 

(Christa Hoyland is director of communications and alumni relations for Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville.)

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