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Eddy Kleinhans No Longer PA for Cal Basketball

The longtime PA at Haas will not return on the eve of the 2015-16 season

Tyrone isn't pleased
Tyrone isn't pleased
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We have received some sad news at CGB. Longtime PA announcer Eddy Kleinhans will no longer be at the position for the upcoming season. Kleinhans had been at the PA position for the past 15 years, and was a fixture at Haas during that time. He was also a mic-man during his tenure as a student at Cal. He wrote this letter of memories and thank-yous to share with the Cal community at large, which he has decided to share here

November 9, 2015

Dear Cal Community,

After 15 years as the public address announcer in Haas Pavilion for the men’s basketball program and three years as the public address announcer for the football program (2011-2013), I have been relieved
of my duties as PA for men’s basketball. I was officially informed of the switch on October 27, 2015. While I am extremely disappointed with how the situation transpired, upon reflection the timing is right to move on to the other amazing parts of my life. I wish the basketball program nothing but success and look forward to watching games in the stands with my family and friends.

Over the years the ability to impact your experience as part of the Cal family has been an honor. My introduction at the arena always emphasized the Cal family because to me our family includes the students, our alums, our faculty, our university employees, our corporate sponsors and our Bay Area community. I am thankful for the opportunity to say thank you and to share some of my fondest memories of the last 15 years.

What they don’t tell you about being part of the fabric of a program is that you’ll end up developing lasting relationships with players, coaches, staff members, alums, and the community at-large. As a student and a mic-man from 1992-1994 I witnessed three bowl games in four years, a Sweet 16 in 1993 and an NCAA berth in 1994 for hoops, including my fifteen seconds of fame as I witnessed the Cal-Dukeupset at Rosemont Horizon in March of 1993 that plastered the CBS telecast. From the early days as a mic-man through the last 15 years on the mic, I have developed relationships with so many great people
who are now a part of my family and circle of friends.

A special thanks to all of the former players and coaches who have always been supportive and keep believing that our program should consistently be a perennial power. From current players like Sam Singer, Jordan Matthews and Tyrone Wallace, guys like Harper Kamp and Jorge from recent times, Ayinde, Conor Famulener, Solomon Hughes and Dennis Gates before them 10-15 years ago to Lamps, Kiwi and Q from yesteryear, the players who love Cal are the players who quickly understand this campus is about what is earned and not what is given. There’s a world of assistant coaches like Yanni, Greg Gottlieb, Jon Wheeler, Dennis Gates, Charles Payne, Jon Montgomery and others who were always supportive of my involvement. More on Wheels later.

All of the head coaches have supported me throughout the years. When faced with a letter from a Bear Backer not enthused with my spirited intros, Coach Braun called me and read me the letter and asked me what I thought we should do. He was torn between balancing input from our fans and the players, who loved the intros and didn’t want me to tone it down. Coach told me he would give me a thumbs up to keep things the same or a thumbs down to tone it down before the next game. Before the game, as Coach walked by the table he gave me a firm thumbs-up. Ayinde Ubaka, years later, pulled me aside and simply said, "What you do makes a difference. A big difference."

Coach Montgomery was a pro. I don’t know how else to describe him. Casual and funny when addressing fans at speaking events, persistent on attention to details at practices on how to run an offensive set, set up a screen---he demanded everyone in the program did things in ways that made them better.  It’s not surprising we won our first conference championship in 50 years with Coach Montgomery at the helm. His transformation of Jerome Randle was extraordinary, and getting a band of hard-working blue collar players to sing the same tune was legendary. Our first meeting in his office I told him what I did on the mic and how we ran a post-game radio show for the guys to have a chance to get on the air and have some fun. He pledged complete support and continued that support with his patented ribbing over the years as our relationship developed. If you know Coach Montgomery, you know one thing:  if he’s ribbing you, you’re on the right side of the fence.  

My most embarrassing moment on the mic was during a game against Nevada when Cal was on a huge run and Nevada head coach Mark Fox tried to call a timeout. The officials missed it but Coach Fox was right next to me screaming and I announced a timeout on the mic. The players in the game looked at me, paused for a second, and kept playing until the next whistle. That season the common phrase from the players when they saw me was, "Time out Nevada!"

My craziest referee moment was with Dave Libby. For those who are familiar with Dave, this should come as no surprise. Dave was flamboyant and not too tolerant of home crowd shenanigans. He would
stop a game to come talk to me and let me know he was giving a fan a warning, or to announce that if something happened again our Bears would get a T. During a game, there was a tremor that shook the floor. Libby blew his whistle and came over and said, "Technical foul. That guy over there tried to trip me." I looked at Dave and said, "Dave, no one tried to trip you. We just experienced an earthquake." He said, "Really?" I said, "Yes." He responded, "No T. Everything OK from a building standpoint? Let’s play on."

One of my many memories from opposing coaches happened during a Cal-Arizona tilt when the iconic Lute Olsen was still at Arizona. In the second half Arizona was pulling away and Hassan Adams hit a 17 foot jump shot. As he celebrated back down the floor, Coach Olsen grabbed a stat sheet and told Hassan, "Hassan, stop dancing. You know you only have one rebound? One effing rebound!"

During the epic Cal-Oregon games when Oregon had Freddie Jones, Luke Jackson and Luke Ridnour, Cal’s Brian Wethers would simply dominate Luke Jackson and take him out of games. His final year, only 3 minutes into the game, Oregon coach Ernie Kent took Jackson out of the game. On his way to the bench, Coach Kent looked at him and said, "He’s kicking your ass Luke. He’s kicking your ass again."

I have too many in-game memories to recount, but let’s just say the best part of being on the mic is the in-game interactions you get to witness from the table. Shantay Legans would come to the table and tell me what play we were running and when a lob was coming. Conor Famulener came to practice one day and showed me a photo of me when I was mic-man with this young kid. It was him. I later printed it out and wrote on the picture, "Study hard kid and someday you’ll be a Golden Bear." I worked out twice a day with Sean Marks helping him prepare for the 1998 NBA draft as I wrapped up law school at Boalt. I provided housing for guys when they came back from playing abroad and tried to figure out their next steps in life. Usually, those times included a push to get back in school and finish their degrees and getting them reconnected with the university.  

Solomon Hughes was my favorite name to introduce during intros and we’ve developed a relationship that includes rounds of golf and chats about the current state of the program. Dennis Gates babysat my daughter in the gym when I was speaking at a student-athlete networking event at the arena one night. Harper Kamp, during his injured year, would come to my son’s school and play chess with the kids. I’ve been to players’ weddings and watched as they’ve started their families and matured over the years.

The marketing department and media relations were always my closest ties to doing my job well. When done right, there’s a genuine flow and balance to reading the PAs while never losing sight that my job on the mic was to keep the crowd fired up and engaged while hoping we’d make enough noise to make the arena Haas-tile for opposing teams. I worked with a number of great partners throughout the years and would be remiss not acknowledging Woozy, Mark Ryan, Sam Bishop-Green, and Sue Woodward. To events management and their omnipresent leader Gordon Bayne, thanks for always having the table set-up and the chair with a little extra cushion to give me some extra comfort at the table. Likewise, I never really got to meet them but the guys up in the booth controlled my mic levels and the sound in the room. Given what we had to work with, thanks for making my pipes sound great.   

I’ve always worked side-by-side with IMG, the corporate sponsor wing of our athletic department. From introducing corporate sponsors to IMG to giving chalk-talks before games to working with their team to
make their sponsors’ reads better, we’ve had a great partnership. Thanks to all of the great folks who welcomed my input and worked on making the sponsor experience worthwhile.

A special thanks to the media for helping promote March2March, the radio show Foley and I created to try to get Bay Area college basketball more exposure. From Steve Kroner’s initial article announcing me 15 years ago, to Jeff Faraudo writing a feature on me for the Saturday paper so you could get to know me a little better, to Rusty Simmons giving me credit for predicting Coach Montgomery’s first team would do a complete 180 and make the NCAA tournament before the season, to all those guys for picking up the story when we wanted to get the word out about something, thanks. To Murph from the Murph & Mac show, thanks for the opportunity to be a quasi-regular guest over the years.

At one point during my tenure Solly Fulp (thanks for always believing in my abilities) asked me to step in to host our post-game radio show. Alongside Matt Foley and Jon Wheeler, we developed a following and ability for fans to interact with players and coaches after home games. From creating an atmosphere at the defunct Looney’s to hosting the show a couple years at Pappy’s, the ability to bring you closer to Cal basketball was a blast. I was proud of the product we created. From the personal side, I didn’t know Foley before I became the PA for men’s hoops. Today, he is one of my closest friends.

On the mic, one of my trademarks was providing nicknames for the players during intros. From "The Bulldog" Jerome Randle to "The Golden One" Ayinde Ubaka, I enjoyed coming up with nicknames that stuck with the guys. One nickname didn’t go over so well. In announcing Jamal Sampson, I introduced him as "the Dominator" and Coach Wheels looked to an assistant coach and said, "I wish he would cut that *#@$ out." I read his lips and went and talked to him about his comment later that week at practice. Little did I know it would be the start of a great and lasting friendship. To this day, Wheels and I talk all the time. He’s a class act and makes our university proud. I also believe he’s one of the unsung Cal basketball guys in our community. Jon Wheeler played at Cal, was part of the 1986 team that broke the streak against UCLA, came back to coach at Cal twice, and was a tremendous resource of basketball knowledge to me and Foley for our radio broadcasts.  If you don’t know Wheels, you should.

The person most responsible for my tenure was John Kasser. John was the first athletic director I worked for and a man who saw my potential and took me under his wing when I was a student and the mic-man in the early 90s. When I returned to finish law school at Boalt in the late 90s, he asked me to emcee FunZone, an idea he had for a tailgate town outside the stadium. One thing led to another and finally the opportunity to take the mic at Haas became a reality in 2000. I always had tremendous support from our athletic directors and would be remiss not mentioning John Kasser, Dan Coonan, Steve Gladstone, and Sandy Barbour for their constant encouragement, teachings, and support. There were countless Bear Backer luncheons, Coaches’ Tours, Tip-off Luncheons, Town Halls, fundraisers and team banquets where I worked with our ADs to assist in their mission of making our athletics program elite. I thank them for their support and willingness to allow me to be a part of the hundreds of events I emceed over the years.

In addition to the numerous games I called, I participated in a myriad of non-basketball events and activities during my tenure. Coach Teri McKeever asked me several times to be a guest speaker to talk to her team about Cal traditions. She also invited me to speak to her team the night before they swam against Stanford and defeated them for the first time in twenty years. The women’s soccer program similarly had me come and speak to their team about Cal traditions in advance of a match against Stanford. Coach Desimone asked me to join his Cal Golf Committee. I’ve been a proud member of his committee and work diligently on the annual fundraiser that raises six figures for his self-supported program. The aquatics programs called on me to emcee and run their semi-annual aquatics galas, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. My exposure on the mic also led to the PGA Tour asking me to come announce the first tee at several Charles Schwab Cups and the Presidents Cup at Harding Park. I announced former Presidents, Bay Area legends and the world’s best golfers on the first tee. Commissioner Tim Finchem appreciated my efforts and told me he was going to get a truck and take me along to all of the other tour stops to announce tour events. I just might take him up on that offer with my free time.

Lastly, over the years I’ve also developed relationships with many of our donors. They’ve counseled me on my professional career as an attorney and a businessman and we’ve enjoyed many social events outside of Cal athletics. I consider many of these alums as mentors and friends. I’ll maintain their privacy and I couldn’t possibly list them all anyway so I’ll simply say, to my mentors, thank you. If you ever have an extra ticket I’d love to catch a game with you in the stands.

I can’t stress enough how much of a family affair my affiliation with the Cal program has been over the years. My wife was a stellar forward for the #2 ranked women’s soccer team in 1993 and we’ve been together 25 years and married for 18. My daughter was born November 8, 2000 at 7:18 am. At 6:00 pm that evening, we had a student chalk talk with Coach Braun I emceed. I left Alta Bates, ran to Haas, grabbed some pizza, ran the event and went back to hold Anna Berkeley. She’s 15 now and has been to every Big Game that’s been played in her lifetime, including her first when she was 11 days old. My son Evan was born in 2003. He’s at an age now where he’s one of the kids who gets to wipe the sweat on the floor at games. He’s also attended every Big Game in his life. When the marketing department needed some kids to do a commercial for holiday tickets, they were the kids who accompanied Santa Harper Kamp in the commercial. When I gave up the mic for football a couple of years ago, I did it because I couldn’t stand missing their soccer games on Saturdays. I also missed sitting in the stands with my friends and family. I’m looking forward to watching a Cal basketball game with my kids in the stands for the first time. To the 2328 family (and by 2328 I mean 2328 extended), thanks for always being supportive. We will see you at Big Game tailgate.

As I officially move forward I still have a million ideas on how we can make things better for Cal basketball. I emceed a sold-out midnight madness in 1993 that included a line of students who didn’t come in because they were waiting in line overnight to get their basketball season tickets. This year’s team deserved a grand welcome and I was disheartened at the turnout for Hoops Hysteria and the welcome scrimmage. I’m hoping the fans come out and fill the arena and support what many expect to be an amazing season. For me, the reality of being replaced makes me realize times change, the people
in charge change and the direction they want to take doesn’t necessarily include the sweat and tears you’ve put into the program. I’ll miss getting to introduce your California Golden Bears one last time and chuckle at the prospect of not getting a chance to experience the new and improved sound system. I always used to joke with folks that when the arena was hopping it didn’t matter what I said because nobody could hear me or understand what I was saying anyway. While I am extremely disappointed with how this all transpired I realize that 15 years is a damn good run and I’m proud of the product I gave you as the Cal family on the mic. I will transition to being a fan and enjoying that next chapter of my relationship with Cal basketball.

On behalf of the entire Cal family, I’m saying so long, and GO BEARS!

Edward A. Kleinhans, ‘94

From a personal standpoint, I've known Eddy for as long as I can remember. He's been the epitome of professionalism, and someone I want to emulate as time goes on. I particularly enjoyed him calling Jorge Guttierez's name, and the excitement from the Justin Cobbs game-winner against #1 Arizona in 2014. Anyway, it isn't great that Eddy is no longer the PA, but hopefully whoever is put in this position can be at least half as good.