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REPORT: Names Surface For Next "Voice of the Tigers"

The local names are known, but the national candidates to replace Jim Hawthorne as "the Voice" are starting to emerge.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

News broke this evening via The Advocate:

Georgia Southern play-by-play broadcaster Chris Blair interviewed Tuesday for the job to replace Jim Hawthorne as LSU's "Voice of the Tigers," according to a source with knowledge of the search.

Blair joins a list of previously reported semifinalists for the gig: Charles Hanagriff, Patrick Wright, Lyn Rollins, Sean Kelley and Patrick Netherton. Blair is one of three to four national candidates that a source last week declined to reveal to The Advocate.

The school is conducting face-to-face interviews with about six to eight semifinalists this week and hopes to have a decision made by the end of the summer. The committee and university officials are not releasing names of the candidates.

Blair seems to be reasonably popular with the Georgia Southern crowd, in the words of Underdog Dynasty's Haisten Willis:

Great for him if he's trying to step up to a gig with higher visibility, though Blair may wish things had stayed quiet until the final announcement.

Just two years ago, Blair was a finalist to become the play-by-play man at Georgia Tech, so he definitely seems interested in moving up. The Tech job ultimately went to former Butler radio announcer Brandon Gaudin.

Per the NOLA paper, Blair interviewed Tuesday afternoon for Louisiana State (I think it's okay to call them that). The paper also reports Blair is the only finalist who does not currently work in the state of Louisiana.

Blair has been been the voice of the Eagles since 2006. He seems to be pretty popular overall though I've heard some fans pine for the old Nate Hirsch.

If Blair leaves, would his trademark touchdown call "put an Eagle 6 on it" survive? Likely not, as the next announcer will want to make his own mark on the program. Similarly, would Blair come up with a new version for LSU? "Put a Tiger 6 on it" sounds a little off.

Georgia Southern/Auburn fan Walt Austin added "I was spoiled by GS's original announcer and Chris never really won me over from him. He's good, but I never imagined him somewhere like LSU."

Or you can hear it straight from the horse's mouth:

UPDATE: For a high-profile call, here's Blair on GSU's infamous upset of Florida from 2013:

Sources tell me another name that is expected to interview is former Arizona Wildcats, ESPN and Houston Astros play-by-play man Brett Dolan. He's moved around from a variety of places, but is most recently based out of the Houston area. Here's a piece on his move out of the Astros' PBP desk, a move that I'm told was largely motivated by a new ownership decision to start fresh. The 'Stros blog The Crawfish Boxes seemed fairly broken up over the move at the time.

With such a high-profile hire, chances are the choice is going to be controversial no matter who gets the gig. Not only is he following up a legend in Jim Hawthorne, but he's basically the fourth person to ever have this job ever. That's plenty on its own. Its important to remember that Blair and Dolan are just the first two names we've heard, and that virtually everybody qualified for this job is going to make a campus visit. In the radio business, as important as the voice is, jobs this high profile are decided on in person.