Carl Stephen, famed announcer of Jordan-Hare Stadium, dies at 77

When I was in undergrad at Auburn, the Tigers clinched the 1997 SEC West division championship in the last home game of the season. For many, many years they’ve been very strict about people running onto that gorgeous green grass, the fans stayed in place, but things got away from “stadium officials” that night. A goalpost was torn down by the players and went into the student body.

No one had left the student section that night. Our revelry was in the stands, and with the players who climbed up on the low wall. That goalpost got into the crush of students. People in the end zone seats were passing it, overhead, to the people behind them. The goalpost made it all the way up to the lip of the stadium. It was going over.

And this voice, this beautiful basso profondo voice reproduced only in heaven and Jordan-Hare Stadium, instructed the students to put the goalpost down. Do not throw it over the side of the stadium.

That authoritative voice cut through the delirium and that goalpost worked its way back down through the students and to the field again.

That was the commanding presence of Carl Stephens. Whether everyone there knew him — many did — or whether they just respected the voice of Jordan-Hare Stadium and Auburn football, they knew of him.

He sounded like this.

That was his last home opener, in 2005, against Georgia Tech. He retired the following spring. I had the great pleasure of interviewing him on his long career as a broadcaster in Montgomery — where he was a familiar face for a third of the state, working almost his entire career at WSFA-TV — and a legend in the loveliest village. These audio clips are from that interview at

Carl Stephens on how is long career with Auburn began.

Carl Stephens on how they produced the football highlight show.

Carl Stephens on calling a game as a public address announcer.

Carl Stephens on exciting moments.

Carl Stephens’ memorable highlights, referencing the 1996 LSU at Auburn game.

Carl Stephens on games that fans talk to him about, including the 1983 Iron Bowl at Legion Field.

Carl Stephens on his favorite parts of game day.

Carl Stephens on his favorite memories.

In addition to his work at WSFA, the old highlight show in the 60s and 70s with Ralph “Shug” Jordan, and his time calling regular season sports at Auburn, he called 15 SEC football championship games, 14 SEC basketball tournaments, six SEC baseball tournaments and numbers NCAA basketball tournament games.

He was a very kind man, giving of his time, friendly to all and humble almost beyond comparison. When I called him upon his retirement he couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to interview him. It sincerely took him back. He’d been an icon for more than four decades by then.

I couldn’t wait to talk shop with him. I was fortunate enough to call games for two years at UAB at the turn of the century. When I interviewed Stephens in 2005 I asked him how much of a game he remembered when he left the stadium. It was gratifying to know he often couldn’t recall the flow because he was so absorbed in doing his job. I’d felt that way, but now the consummate professional was telling me it happened to him, too. Most telling, considering all he’d seen, he maintained his favorite part of working those games was meeting so many people.

Carl Stephens was a gentleman at every turn. He was one of the last few bridges to a golden era at Auburn. He went home this evening at the age of 77, survived by his beautiful wife Mary, children Richard and Sandra, several grandchildren and thousands of fans, friends and Auburn family. For many of them, his voice was football.

Richard told me tonight that his father “truly, truly was” that kind and humble man the rest of us thought we knew. That’s a son’s pride and sorrow. That and the many eulogies shared about him now tell the story: we’ve lost another great Auburn man.

Drive home safely, and War Eagle.

Comments are closed.