Meet the legendary voices at Lyons, DGS

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Lyons’ Howard Amerlan

About the worst thing that can happen to a public address announcer, happened to Howard Amerlan in early January.

After returning from a winter break vacation from Greece with his wife, the veteran voice of Lyons’ boys basketball team suffered from a two-week bout with laryngitis. What is a public address announcer supposed to do, if he can’t speak?

Though Amerlan, 68, rarely misses a home boys basketball game for Lyons, laryngitis and family commitments do not always work around a basketball schedule. Amerlan doesn’t have a consecutive games streak to report. He doesn’t need one considering how long he has been on the job. Amerlan has been announcing Lyons games since 1968.

“I’ve seen it almost all,” Amerlan said.

He isn’t alone. The West suburbs are blessed with another veteran P.A. voice in Downers Grove South’s Jim Mizener, who has done games since 1985. Before that, MIzener was the voice of the swimming and diving team and track and field starting in 1979.

They are two of the best voices in the business.

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The duo have a combined 73 years of experience. Amerlan is in his 45th year. Amerlan and Mizener have voices meant for radio. They each have warm, folksy voices that I would love to hear reading Dr. Seuss someday or one of my 4-year-old daughter’s “Dora the Explorer” books. I figure Amerlan and Mizener would do pretty well pronouncing, “!Bate, bate, chocolate!” in Spanish.

Mizener was inducted into the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame last year as a contributor to the game. In the 1980s, Mizener was the P.A. announcer for high school basketball doubleheaders sponsored by WLS-AM Radio at the old Rosemont Horizon. I remember going to one of those doubleheaders to see IC’s Andy and Steve Laux battle against Benet.

Amerlan was behind the mic at Lyons’ North campus gym when Lyons’ greatest player, Jeff Hornacek, played in the early 1970s. The only problem was Hornacek was underutilized by former coach Ron Nikcevich and would become a walk-on at Iowa State before enjoying a long NBA career.

“At LT, he was a decent player, but he did not get the recommendation of NIkcevich,” Amerlan said.

Amerlan also works water polo matches. Lyons has won a state championship in girls and boys water polo the last two years. He also is a bus driver for Lyons athletic teams. He retired from teaching math in 2004 after 37 years.

“I feel like I’m doing service. I’m giving back to the school,” Amerlan said. He hates nicknames and does little to ignite the crowd or provide hoopla. “Hoopla” is his word.

“I don’t like slam jam kind of basketball games,” Amerlan said. “I get excited about us scoring, but I don’t do the goofy stuff.”

Mizener is the voice of Downers Grove. His popularity has grown beyond 63rd and Dunham. He also works the mic at DGN events, mainly football and boys basketball. He’ll announce just about anything, including boys soccer, girls volleyball, swimming sectionals, indoor track and even cheerleading, dance and pom competitions.

Mizener estimates he has announced 140 events each year. Both Amerlan and Mizener work doubleheaders each game. They announce the sophomore game and the varsity game.

“It’s kind of a passion,” Mizener said. “I just rolled into it.”

Mizener retired as an industrial technology teacher in 1994, but continues to teach architecture at the College of DuPage twice a week in the spring. He also changes the display cases at DGS as a volunteer for the school’s athletic teams. He taught at DGS for 29 years.

To hear more of Amerlan, Lyons’ upcoming home games are Lincoln Park Feb. 2, Oak Park-River Forest Feb. 8, Proviso West Feb. 15 and a West Suburban crossover game Feb. 20.

Mizener will likely announce DGS’ game at DGN Feb. 2. His future DGS home games are against Willowbrook Feb. 8 and Warren Feb. 9.

DGS’ Jim Mizener

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