Florida State University’s football program has seen its fair share of highlights. 28 bowl wins, 18 conference titles, three Heisman Trophy winners and three national championships make up the Seminoles’ resume. Fans who got to see some of these moments will probably never forget them. An essential memory every Seminole fan has is legendary broadcaster Gene Deckerhoff calling out Kelvin Benjamin’s national championship capture against Auburn in the 2013 season.
“Its trapped! Its trapped! Its trapped! Deckerhoff exclaimed as Florida State secured its third national title in school history. It remains a quintessential moment in Deckerhoff’s career to this day.
Ironically, Deckerhoff graduated from the University of Florida, but has never claimed to be a Gator since graduating.
“Coach Graves used to joke with me that Bowden paid his players, even though most of the Florida team was on probation,” Deckerhoff said. “I definitely considered myself a Seminole in those days.”
Gene originally hails from Jacksonville, where he found his love of FSU at a young age. He informed us that the city will paint the Matthews Bridge maroon in honor of the strong Florida state culture that exists in his hometown.
“Florida fans who have to drive through Matthews every day should have fun knowing it’s a FSU-run city,” Deckerhoff said. “I’m not sure when that will happen, but it should definitely happen soon.”
Deckerhoff is also widely known for his time calling games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Florida Sports Hall of Famer began calling games for Tampa in 1989. His favorite time of the football season was the weekends when Florida State and Tampa Bay had home games.
“Surprisingly, those were the easiest weekends, the ones with no flights,” Deckerhoff said. “The toughest weekends were when FSU had road games at the same time Tampa was playing London.”
Gene feels very lucky to have lived the dream of thousands of sports broadcasters. He held one of 32 NFL play-by-play positions and a position at one of the most storied college football powerhouses in recent history. For Deckerhoff, the little things mean the most on game days.
“Getting into the parking lot, getting into the elevator and sitting in the press box is a spectacular experience,” said Deckerhoff. “Seeing Osceola plant the spear and hearing the crowd roar always gives one the chills.”
Watching the Marching Chiefs storm the field and interacting with FSU fans are just a few of the many things Gene enjoys about Saturdays in Tallahassee. The best, however, is a victory for the state of Florida. “He doesn’t beat them! They don’t win! They don’t win! it’s a rendezvous that garnet and gold crave as the clock ticks down at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The Florida State fan base is more than that. Those who wear the spear are considered family. The common greeting and farewell for Seminole supporters across the country is “Go Noles.” Everyone knows what it means and it can be used in any context to express love for FSU.
“I like to think of it the same way Italians use ‘ciao,'” Deckerhoff said. “I sign every email I write with ‘Go Noles’ the same way I end every conversation with ‘Go Noles.'”
Although Deckerhoff retires, his contributions to Florida State University will never be forgotten. Gene is one of four broadcasters to be inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. He looks forward to the reduced travel, but will miss being the legendary voice of FSU during its footballing prime.
The 2022 Spring Game will be Deckerhoff’s last game before he signs out for the last time. The FSU Athletics Hall of Famer paved the way and set the standard for sports broadcasting in Tallahassee. The search for Deckerhoff’s replacement will begin in the next few months, and it will be more than difficult to fill his shoes.
On behalf of Florida State University, thank you, Gene.