LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — It’s a distinct voice that’s been the soundtrack of the state track and field meet for nearly half a century.
Charlie Briscoe has been the public address announcer of the VHSL state track and field championships since 1974. But the Class 3 and 4 meet in Lynchburg on Saturday was his last high school meet behind the microphone.
“I’ve always used the same statement. Our job is to inspire so that the athletes will perspire,” Briscoe said. “And hopefully that’s come across so many different times.”
It’s hard to imagine a state track meet in Virginia without Briscoe’s voice. For 49 years, he’s provided the information every athlete, coach, parent, and fan needed to hear.
“Once I get the scheduling of all the events, and the race heats and everything, then I go to work,” Briscoe said. “I use MileStat explicitly and I’m there looking up the fastest freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.”
A former runner and state champion himself, the Wichita, Kansas native has had the best view in the house for decades, watching the sport of track and field evolve over the years.
“Our facilities are much better than what they used to be. We have bigger meets that our kids can enjoy and that the schools can participate in,” Briscoe said. “The facilities have improved. Man, when I first got here in ’66, we ran on a cinder track.”
And for generations, he’s witnessed countless athletes cross the finish line. But his memories go beyond the record books of state champions.
“I enjoy the camaraderie with the coaches and the athletes, but more than that, the parents. I remember, now that I was getting older when I was announcing a meet at EC Glass and one of the parents came up to me and said ‘Coach, do you remember announcing me when I raced for Wytheville? This is my baby girl!’,” Briscoe said. “Now I’m announcing the grandchildren of some of the athletes that have been there, so I enjoy that.”
So why stop after 49 years of state meets? Why not stay and reach the golden milestone of 50?
“I turn 82 this next year. 82, that’s getting old,” Briscoe said. “The kids run fast, I can’t see their bib numbers, nor can I see their hip numbers.”
And as he steps away from the mic, Briscoe hopes he’s remembered for one thing.
Briscoe: “That I did a good job.”