Josh Coletta works a game at the Hillsdale Academy earlier this season. (Photo: Lillian Quinones / Col­legian)

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.”