Press box legends: Dussingers celebrate 40 years behind the mic

By on November 1, 2017
C. William Dussinger (left) and his son, Bill (right), have been announcing Warwick football games from the press box at Joseph Grosh Field since 1977. Photo by Bruce Morgan

C. William Dussinger (left) and his son, Bill (right), have been announcing Warwick football games from the press box at Joseph Grosh Field since 1977. Photo by Bruce Morgan

William Dussinger doesn’t recall the exact roots of his catch phrase.

Hank Williams Jr. might have inspired Dussinger when he sang, “Are you ready for some football?” Perhaps he got the idea after watching games on a Saturday or Sunday.

Whatever the case, the longtime voice of Warwick football will forever be linked with, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

It was all part of the experience of watching the Warriors play in Lititz, settling into the bleachers on a crisp fall Saturday afternoon and hearing the familiar words boom from the Joseph Grosh Field press box speakers.

“People would go crazy,” Dussinger said. “That was the fun of it. You could get the crowd into it.”

This marks the 40th season that either C. William or his son, Bill, have had fun behind the microphone. The two have been fixtures in the booth for precisely four decades, with the younger Dussinger sliding in when his father retired several years ago.

Even opposing coaches who have visited Grosh Field know the voice of C. William. One year, at a Lions Club banquet where the Frantz-Rider-Yohe awards were handed out, Bill sat with long-time Conestoga Valley coach Jim Cantafio, who didn’t hide his dislike about playing in Lititz.

“My dad was in the Lions Club, so he was the announcer for that, and Cantafio said, ‘His voice sounds really familiar,’” Bill recalled.

After being told who it was, Cantafio remarked, “I’d hate coming to Warwick because every time, he’d say, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’ I thought it was funny that he even remembered it.”

Eventually, however, the time came for C. William to step aside.

“My hearing was going,” he recalled, “and it was just to the point of saying, ‘You know, I can’t keep doing it anymore.’”

Bill was available to step in and the rest is history.

Certainly, the elder Dussinger had a long and successful run dating back to Sept. 10, 1977. That day, before Warwick beat Conestoga Valley 22-14, he emceed the dedication of the football field to Dr. Grosh in front of nearly 3,000 fans.

At the time, Warwick didn’t have a regular presence at the mic, so Dussinger volunteered to announce games from the red wooden pressbox on the west side of the field. It wasn’t his only new undertaking, having just started a seven-year term on Warwick’s school board.

“I was doing emcee work and stuff like that in town and I enjoyed that type of thing,” C. William said. “I started out with the idea of, I wanted it to be informative and yet fun.”

The same year Dussinger picked up his new gig, the Warriors — under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Mark Snyder — began a run of three straight Section Two crowns. C. William was in the booth as Warwick reeled off a mark of 26-3-1 from 1977-79, including a State-best 18-game win streak.

That era was a highlight of his career, not only because of the titles, but also from being at the microphone while his sons, Bill and Peter, competed for the Warriors.

“I announced the three championship years, which was a lot of fun,” Dussinger said. “And to have both of your sons playing, both were kickers, it was a challenge not to get into the game, if you know what I mean. But I enjoyed it.”

Even the times when he was a little bit tongue-tied, he can look back on those and laugh now.

“Bill would be out for a kickoff and he’d tip the ball,” C. William said, “and it would roll a couple yards and I’m announcing. Well, what do you do?”

What C. William did — and Bill continues to do — is accentuate the positive. If a player fumbles the ball, or if a receiver drops a pass from the quarterback, his name doesn’t get mentioned. During the times that there is an injury on the field, caution is taken not to identify the player.

“We kept everything cool,” C. William said. “That was our approach right from day one. Nothing negative — just positive. If we couldn’t say anything good, then we didn’t say anything.”

Bill, of course, has followed in those footsteps.

“They were big shoes to fill,” the younger Dussinger said of taking over in the booth for his father. “But he had all the fun little sayings and I’m just the boring guy.”

One of those sayings, for instance, was brought out when Warwick played Penn Manor. At least once during each of those games, C. William went to one of his stand-by axioms.

“If the whole gang tackled and we couldn’t tell who, I’d come up with some fantastic thing like, ‘A galaxy of Comets,’” he laughed. “I had something like that all the way through.”

For years, C. William also tried to give out starting lineups and happy birthday wishes. Too often, though, the players that were announced as starters weren’t actually those on the field.

“The more you did, the more they wanted you to announce, and we couldn’t get it all in,” C. William said. “In the beginning, we started doing some birthdays for people. They’d come up and say, ‘Hey, it’s so-and-so’s birthday,’ and it got out of hand. We had so many kids come up and then you weren’t sure if it really was true. So we had to stop it. I know there’s some things people would like us to do, but sometimes you just can’t do it.”

After all, staying on top of the action on the field is enough to keep them busy. C. William and Bill both have a hard time recalling some of their favorite battles over the years. Each has worked hundreds of games at Grosh Field, and since they’re watching every play with a microscope — looking for individual players who carry the ball or make tackles — the games have become a blur.

“Honestly, most of them I don’t even remember,” Bill said.

“You’re watching them so close that you can’t remember the whole picture,” C. William added. “I’d try to pick up the offense and a spotter or two would pick up the defense, and as soon as that play was over, that play was over. You’re onto the next.”

Along the way, the job had some embarrassing moments as well.

“We weren’t perfect,” C. William said. “We missed some things, (like announcing), ‘Joe Blow made the tackle,’ and I’d look down and he’s sitting on the bench. It’s like, ‘Oh no.’”

More times than not, the Dussingers have nailed it. They have earned a highly-respected reputation. As a matter of fact, C. William was asked to announce a couple of All-Star games years ago when they were held at Lancaster Catholic High School.

“Both times I had conflicts and couldn’t do it,” he said. “I’d have loved to have done it. People had heard about me announcing and wanted me. Well, that makes you feel good.”

Between the two Dussingers, they have announced games with five different Warwick coaches — Snyder (1976-85), Garry Fuhrman (1986-88), Shawn Westerlund (1989-91), Clever Daihl (1992-97), Snyder (1998-2000), and Bob Locker (2001-present) — on the sidelines.

As a former Warrior player himself, Bill, who graduated in 1978, still bleeds red and black from the pressbox.

“I love when we win — I don’t like when we lose,” he said. “When we give game balls away when we lose, it’s kind of hard to do.”

The games which carry the most excitement for him are the back-yard rivalry match-ups against Manheim Central. This past fall, the Barons won their 22nd straight game against the Warriors, earning a 35-27 victory at Grosh Field.

“Hopefully, one of these days we’re going to beat them,” Bill said.

Win or lose, however, the Dussingers have tried to do it the right way for 40 years behind the microphone.

“I’m glad I did it and I’m happy for it,” C. William said. “I had a good time with it. I just wanted to have it be a nice professional way of listening to the announcer. That’s what I wanted and I think we did it. Not perfect, but I think we did pretty good.”

When it comes to the Dussingers, it just doesn’t get any better.

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *