Tenino’s Dave Montgomery takes over UW’s mic


Dave Montgomery’s first turn on the microphone at Hec Edmundson Pavilion lasted less than half an hour. 

It had to; there’s so little parking near the athletic facilities at the University of Washington that when he went north to audition for the role of the Huskies’ men’s basketball public address announcer, the organizers had him leave his car in a 30-minute loading space.

That 30 minutes got his foot in the door, though. Now after getting the job, the mic is his for the season — a season that starts this Sunday in an exhibition game against Saint Martin’s.

“It really hit me this weekend that I’m going to be doing this,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery, also a social studies teacher, girls soccer head coach and boys soccer assistant at Tenino, started announcing in 2015 at Rochester, and has held the job down at Tenino since 2018, when he took over for the legendary Hal Williams. He’s also the announcer for the Lacey Lights, a semi-professional soccer team in Thurston County.

Back in June, he was scrolling through a Twitter page devoted to all things PA announcing, and saw a post that caught his eye.

“I saw the big W logo, and thought ‘Huh, that’s nearby,’” Montgomery said. “Then it really hit me like, ‘This could be a cool thing to apply for.’

“I did it because I thought it would be a fun experience just to have an audition, not really even thinking that I could get it. Once they told me I had an audition, I legitimately went down to the gym in Tenino and practiced by myself a couple times just to make sure I was tuned up and ready to go.”

Then it was time to show off his chops — to a nearly-empty Hec Ed, all in a sprint format to avoid a parking ticket. 

The audition started with scripted reads of starting lineups and final scores. Then, the organizers asked him to call a few imaginary scenarios.

“They were like, ‘Okay, now we’re going to pretend a foul happened. Foul’s on Colorado’s No. 4, go,’” Montgomery said. “And you basically had to grab the mic and make up just happened. Good thing for me, all these years I kind of kept the same wording and cadence for what I do reporting fouls, and that was second-nature for me to be able to do that.”

After less time than a half of college basketball, a handful of athletic department employees pulled Montgomery off the mic to ask him a few questions.

Montgomery, who himself admitted that he’s been more invested in high school than college basketball to this point, nearly tripped up at the first — and most obvious — hurdle: Who’s your favorite Husky basketball player?

“My mind immediately went blank, and then I realized the best answer for me, and with a big smile, I said, ‘The Tenino Tower,’” he said. “Gordon Harris, B basketball legend. So I got to explain to them who the Tenino Tower was, because I don’t think anyone knew who this awesome center was from the 1960s.”

For the record, Harris, who averaged 14.1 points per game in three years for the Huskies, would be the second tallest player on the current UW roster, behind only 7-foot-1 Braxton Meah.

A few days later, Montgomery got the call that he better start learning how to pronounce “Meah” — and “Sahvir Wheeler,” and “Wilhelm Breidenbach,” and the rest of the names on the UW roster — since he’d gotten the job.

Now, he’ll be up in Seattle for all 18 UW home games this upcoming season, starting with four in seven days this next week.

In between all that, he’ll still be calling as many Tenino games as he can make.

Those two gigs, despite being the same sport, present two very different experiences. Beyond the difference between the hundred or so fans who turn out to Brock Court and the thousands who flock to Hec Ed, the college game puts more on PA announcers’ plates during breaks in the action.

“When you get to these higher levels, they have a ton of sponsors and you have to read all of those ads,” Montgomery said. “That’s where the little bit of news radio I did is coming in handy now, because that was just reading news for five straight minutes and trying not to make a mistake.”

It won’t be his first time announcing on the big stage. When Tenino football went to Seattle for a game at Lumen Field last September, Montgomery went with them to take his turn on an NFL mic.

During that game, a referee made a passing comment to a Tenino adminstrator — who was working on the chain gang — how cool it was that the Seahawks had brought out their announcer to call a high school game, not knowing it was really a teacher in the booth.

A few months later, the Tenino baseball team faced Rochester at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, and Montgomery got to call a baseball game at a Triple-A park.

Those times were great experiences, but they — like Montgomery’s parking-shaped audition — were short ones.

Now, he’s got a longer job on the big stage to look forward to.

“I keep using the word ‘surreal,’” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it to people. It blows my mind that I’m in this position, for sure.”