Danny Wood and William Hardy have been calling Estill sports for almost three decades.
By Blain Click
CV&T Sports Reporter
Daniel Glenn Wood and William Park Hardy, known to anyone ever associated with Estill County sports as simply William and Danny, are in the midst of their 28th year of calling games on WIRV, WCYO and the recently formed 99.3 on the radio dial. These two guys are certainly not strangers in the county. William is a long time executive with the Carhart Corporation and graduated from Estill County High School in 1987, where he played multiple sports for the Neers. Danny’s name appears on the Engineer baseball field where he served as a beloved and successful varsity baseball coach from 1995-2009. He also retired in 2015 as a long time US History teacher at the high school where he spouted his “something must be done” speech in room 22 for more than 27 years.
They started doing radio in the fall of 1991 with the blue white basketball scrimmage on the AM dial, 1550. The two estimate they’ve done almost 800 total games over that span, mostly basketball and football with some spring sports games thrown in along the way. Of course, those years were very exciting in both basketball and Football. The two blame former Judge Executive Kevin Williams for getting them started by recommending to Wallingford Broadcasting owner Kelly Wallingford to use them on the air to call Engineer sports. The apparent interview with Kelly Wallingford went something like, “When can you start?” and the rest is history. Anyone who has ever listened to them over the air knows they are most known not only for their love of Estill County sports but also their dry wit and insider jokes. According to them, they most enjoy making up humorous mental images such as referring to each other as being shirtless in the press booth or Danny asking William how long it took him to get to the game on his Polaris. And, if you ever heard the name “Enos Duncil” on the air, it was a reference to a name they made up over 20 years ago because a Lee Co player’s name had been left off the roster. But mostly, they just enjoy having fun calling games together on the radio which has now expanded into Facebook TV and online broadcasting.
When asked what some of the most exciting moments were while calling those games, they both eluded to last year’s basketball first ever state tournament appearance at Rupp arena as topping the list. For those who were listening live or listened later on Facebook replay, it’s hard to forget the emotional radio call from William Park proclaiming “Estill County is going to the sweet 16!” . William also notes the first ever back to back regional baseball titles in 2008 and 2009 when Danny was the coach and William was calling the games by himself. William explained ” Danny had lost his mother prior to the first regional title and I remember that being very special for me to be able to call his championship game on the radio” . Danny also cites many of the rivalry games with Powell in basketball and Breathitt in football. “There were memorable moments such as Mo’s big shot when Brandon Morris made a 35’ shot at the buzzer to beat Powell County in the district final in 2013 and my nephew, Hank Wiseman, hyperventilating on the floor during the celebration that followed” . They both noted the enjoyment they received from having witnessed what they claim was the most Homecomings and Senior Nights of anyone in the county. William also remembers watching fireworks at Cincinnati Reds ballpark from the Belleview high school football field press box while calling the game. Apparently, Danny left William alone in the press box for a while that night (though neither will admit why).
Neither of these guys is quite sure what has been their longest road trip though William says” I know we’ve done games from Pikeville to Owensboro and Belleview to Mcreary Co. Both note the football game at Phelps in far eastern Pike Co. as being at the end of nowhere and “felt like the farthest”.
By Far, the most serious part of the conversation was a question regarding why they have done it all these years. William says” It is very simple. We don’t do it for us. We do it for the kids of Estill County because they deserve to be recognized. Even more so, we love to do it for the parents, grandparents, and family who can’t make it to the games. With the games now being online, it’s a new way of bringing the Engineers to an even wider audience. I am constantly amazed every year by someone new who tells me they listen to us. Folks I would never dream of listening to a game, but they enjoy supporting the program.
Finally, I do it as my tithe back to a school and program that means the world to me. Many of the lessons I learned came from being an Engineer with all of my teammates and coaches that I will never forget. It is my way of saying thanks for the memories.” Danny states “We just love doing it. We like to have the grandmothers at home hear their loved one’s names on the radio. We are hapless homers. And for me, it’s just fun to be around my friend, William, and it gives our wives a break from us”.
When asked about when they will retire neither one was completely sure. William anticipates hanging up the mic when his youngest son who’s currently a freshmen, graduates high school. Danny says he’s quitting when William does and notes” We still can’t believe we haven’t been fired yet”. But for now, these two true blue Estill County natives continue to call Engineer sports on the airwaves and doing what they do best, making sports fun, which we all should do more of these days.