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Remembering Rod Irvine: “The Voice of the Cowboys”

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

He had the ability to inspire a crowd of football or baseball fans and whip them into a frenzy with just a simple phrase. He also had the ability to inspire young people to be a little better than they thought they could be. He had the ability to inspire a church congregation to set their eyes and hearts on something bigger and greater than themselves. Even more, he managed to take on those tasks and more with an infectious smile and grace that seemed to invite people of all walks to follow him, and have a good time doing it.

He was Rod Irvine. Known to many as the "Voice of the Cowboys" due to his work as the public address play-by-play announcer for both football and baseball games for the Madison County High School (MCHS) Cowboys. Others knew him as a caring mentor who worked for years at MCHS as a paraprofessional. Still, others knew him as a man of God, serving for many years in the ministry. This writer knew him as all those, but most of all, I knew him as a close and dear friend.

Irvine was a broadcast journalism major while at Florida A&M University (FAMU). While still a student at FAMU, Irvine worked at the college radio station WAMF (now WANM) doing play-by-play for football, baseball and basketball games as the original "Voice of FAMU." "Those were great times," recalled Irvine. "Traveling to games, staying in motels, being able to talk about the games, and the best part, getting paid for all that."

In 1989 Irvine moved to Madison from Ft. Lauderdale. After coming to Madison, Irvine entered into the ministry, in addition to his work with students at MCHS. Currently, Irvine was the pastor at New Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, in Greenville, for five years. He had over 30 years of experience in the ministry.

While at MCHS, Irvine often worked with students who had been assigned to in-school suspension. Many of these students had run into behavioral problems. Irvine often took advantage of the opportunity to help these students see the importance of and the value of their education. To even the most casual of observers, it was easy to see that Irvine truly loved each and every one of the students with whom he came into contact, no matter the circumstances in which these students found themselves.

Irvine passed away suddenly on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. Like many, I will miss my friend terribly. Especially on Friday evenings during the fall on top of Boot Hill. I will think of him whenever I hear someone say, "Talk to your defense!" Or declare another "Cowboy first down!" But most of all, I will miss his genuine smile and hearing him say, "I love you, brother." I love you too, my friend.

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