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November 29, 2013

High school sports announcer boosts players’ spirits

In the spotlight

EBENSBURG — John Inman is never at a loss for words.

That’s good, because the announcer for the Bishop Carroll girls volleyball team has to keep fans informed.

The Ebensburg school was among the first to have an announcer for volleyball, the team’s coach said, adding that Inman’s vigorous voice has boosted the players’ morale.

The team has been good for Inman also.

“I have absolutely enjoyed being the voice of the Lady Huskies volleyball team because of their wonderful talent and unbelievably good attitude,” said Inman, a 1969 graduate of Bishop Carroll.

Two years ago, when Inman started announcing the games, he made a prediction.

“I told coach (Joe) Skura that these girls are special and will go on to bigger and better things concerning competition,” Inman said.

He was correct.

“They have been District 6 champions the past two years, and last year they made it to the state quarterfinals,” Inman said.

This year the team finished with a 22-2 record and made it to the state semifinals.

“That is quite an accomplishment,” Inman said.

“Through coach Skura’s guidance, this particular girls team is highly motivated and extremely talented,” he said. “With those two qualities, the sky is the limit for these young ladies.

“No one spells team with an ‘I’ at Bishop Carroll,” he said. “Instead, they succeed because they are a cohesive unit.

“They are truly remarkable girls who do not want to fail but to get better every game.”

Inman said Skura is an excellent coach and the reason for the team’s success.

Inman brought plenty of announcing experience with him to Bishop Carroll.

At Penn Cambria High School, he had been the announcer for varsity boys basketball for 25 years and varsity football for 20 years.

“It was enjoyable to watch the successful growth of both the football and basketball teams under the guidance of coaches Bruce Fryckland and Jim Ronan in basketball and Tony Toma­selli, Ron Walters and Ernie Fetzer in football,” Inman said. “All five were excellent coaches and their teams were hugely successful.

“It was truly an honor to be labeled the voice of the (Penn Cambria) Panthers in football and basketball.”

Inman said he decided to retire last year as the announcer at Penn Cambria so he could spend more time with his family, especially by sitting with them at the school’s basketball and football games on Friday nights.

Doing the play-by-play at volleyball games for Bishop Carroll doesn’t  affect those family outings at Penn Cambria because the volleyball games were held on other weeknights and only during  September and October.

As an educator, Inman taught social science, history and English at Penn Cambria for 32 years before retiring in 2006.

“I enjoyed teaching immensely,” he said.

“I dealt daily with our greatest natural resource, our students.

“I am honored to have taught in the Penn Cambria schools. I have the greatest respect not only for my students, but also for the entire school district.”

Inman said he served as assistant coach and head coach of the school’s award-winning speech team from 1990 to 2003.

“Many of our students qualified for state and national competitions each year,” he said. “We were blessed with strong public speakers.”

Inman, a lifelong resident of Lilly, is involved in his community as president of the Lilly-Washington Public Library and a member of the Lilly council of the Knights of Columbus.

Skura said that Inman has an announcer’s voice.

“I’ll never forget the way the girls smiled the first day he joined our program as the team announcer,” Skura said. “When he announced the starting lineup, our athletes’ faces lit up, and they felt so special.

“The fact that he enjoyed announcing for them and gave them such an introduction meant the world to them.

“Not only does he have a professional way of announcing, he cares about every team and athlete.”

Inman said he plans to return as announcer for Huskies volleyball games next year.

Inman and his wife, Anita, have two daughters – Juliana Ricupero, who lives in Duncansville, and Jaime Cogan, who lives north of Pittsburgh. They have three grandchildren.

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

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