By Maurice Patton
Radio play-by-play duties for Columbia Central football and basketball on WKRM (1340-AM/103.7-FM) this season will be shared, station manager Clayton Harris announced this week.
Newcomer Lee Maddox will handle Lions football this fall, with veteran Barry Duke returning after a 20-year hiatus to broadcast Central basketball.
“We didn’t want to put it on everybody to have to do everything like we’d done in the past with Mike,” Harris said, referring to nine-year Central play-by-play veteran Mike Epley, who will serve in that role for Summit football and basketball broadcasts on WKOM (101.7-FM) this year.
Duke will be a familiar voice to area listeners. The 1971 Central graduate handled Lady Lion radio duties beginning in 1978, and was mic-side for both boys and girls teams from the mid-‘80s through 2000, when he stepped away because of “philosophical differences” with the station’s ownership.
“Barry’s one of the best play-by-play voices in the area,” Harris said. “We’re thrilled to have him back. I really think it’s going to be a good thing for everybody involved. I grew up listening to him. He’ll do a really, really good job.”
Duke’s return will resume a family connection to the Central program. In addition to his radio chores, sons Seneca and Trevor both played for the Lions.
“My sons are excited about me coming back, and my grandchildren are excited because it’s something new for them,” he said.
Similarly, Maddox will have the chance to call his son’s name on the air. Louis Maddox will be a junior lineman for Central this fall.
“We’re going to do the best we can and have fun,” Maddox said as he contemplated his first play-by-play assignment. “I’m looking forward to it, hoping they can continue the momentum they had at the end of last season – competing for the Region (5-5A) title, getting back to the playoffs and see what happens.”
Maddox, communications director for Columbia-based Tennessee Farm Bureau, is a television/radio veteran and serves as vice president of the Columbia Central Gridiron Association.
“He’s very familiar with the student-athletes coming up through the program. It made sense to give him the opportunity,” Harris said.
“We didn’t want to put too much on either of these guys. You’re talking about 30 basketball games, and 10 (regular-season) football games. It really worked out well to be able to get both these guys to come in, hopefully take us to the next level and have people enjoy listening to our broadcast.”