Voice of New Canaan Football steps down after 65 years
A familiar voice at New Canaan football games is calling it quits after almost seven decades.
Bob VanDerheyden, 81, has been the man behind the mic at New Canaan football games for 65 years.
He was a sophomore at New Canaan High School when he started as the public address announcer.
"We did our first games down at Mead Park in 1958. We had no electricity down there. We had to get what we call an inverter. My dad was in radio. He was the sports director at WSTC in Stamford for many years in the 50s and 60s and I used to hang out at the radio station," said VanDerheyden.
For 30 of his 65 years doing the games, VanDerheyden has made the three- to four-hour trip from his home in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
He says arthritis in his back has made the trip harder now.
"The ride over was becoming uncomfortable. The family was on me to stop doing it and so I started saying I'll do one more year and that'll be it," said VanDerheyden. New Canaan Athletic Director Jay Egan says VanDerheyden was always the consummate professional and was thankful every year he was asked to come back.
"I think he exemplifies just the interest and enthusiasm the New Canaan community has for athletics," said Egan.
"I'm going to miss doing it and as I said to the wife, it was time. It was time," said VanDerheyden.
Even though he's leaving, a little bit of VanDerheyden's booming voice will still be heard at the games.
A recording of his signature introduction, 'Ladies and gentleman down on the field, here come the Rams' will now be played at every home game.
"It's been wonderful. It's been an awful lot of fun," said VanDerheyden.
VanDerheyden will also be honored at halftime of this Saturday's homecoming game against Wilton.