He calls it a “baptism by fire.”
Josh Colletta’s first announcement for Hillsdale College sports was the 2012 GLIAC men’s basketball championship game. Expectations were high because it was the first time that Hillsdale hosted in the history of the tournament.
“I like to say no one heard the two best calls that I’ve ever made because the crowd was so loud. It was an exciting but nerve-racking experience,” Colletta said, remembering that historic game.
Colletta has been announcing Hillsdale College basketball, football, and softball since that 2012 tournament. Prior to moving up to the “big leagues” as he describes announcing for the college, Colletta began his career as a public address announcer at Hillsdale Academy in 2004, following one year studying broadcast communications with a focus in radio at Spring Arbor University in 2003. Colletta continues to announce basketball, track and field, and volleyball for the Academy.
Returning to Hillsdale in 2004 to visit his younger brother attending Hillsdale Academy, Colletta decided to jump immediately into sports announcing and approached the director of Hillsdale Academy Athletics and assistant headmaster, Mike Roberts, for a job. At the time, the athletics department was just starting out and parents were pitching into to announce the games.
“It’s been great having Josh as part of our staff in our athletic program at the Academy,” Roberts said. “Not only does he have a natural voice for announcing, really a gift for it, but he’s consistent and continues to build on that trade.”
Early on in their working relationship, Roberts would drive Colletta home following a game and they would discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Colletta’s announcing that night.
“Mike has been fantastic about coaching me along and letting me know what he does and doesn’t want in the game and how we present the game to the audience,” Colletta said. Over his 14-year span of working for the Academy, Roberts said Colletta has become the “nucleus” at the score table.
“Josh holds everything together, the audio, scorebook, anything technical, even starting the game on time,” Roberts said.
From his presence at Academy games, Colletta gained the attention of Brad Monaistere, sports information director for Hillsdale College, who invited him to the “baptism by fire” experience in 2012 at the GLIAC tournament.
“Back then, I could tell he had an awesome announcing voice, but also was invested in how the teams at the Academy did,” Monaistere said. “Josh’s job is time-intense and publically very visible, and he lends us a great home event presentation. I have received a number of compliments on his voice and work from many opposing fans and coaches, and those compliments are well-deserved.”
Beyond getting paid to watch sports, something that “you can’t beat,” Colletta said, his favorite part of his job is the community at the Academy.
“Interacting with the kids and their parents during the games and realizing that the name of the senior player who just made the play is the kindergartener you once knew on the court, and seeing their personalities develop — that’s the best part,” Colletta said. “It’s a privilege to be someone who contributes to their enjoyment of the sport and their school environment.”
Taking on the responsibility of selecting in-game music, Colletta has developed a passion for anything music related and hopes to start an online Top 40 radio station for Hillsdale county in the future.
“My current favorites in contemporary music are Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar,” Colletta said. “I know we’ve got a couple tracks for in-game music already but I’m going to try and find a way to add more.”