Ric Smith
By The Numbers:
Play calls per game
Scripted announcements
Words in Ole Miss game script
8 million+
Fans at Jordan-Hare since 2006
regular season games as stadium announcer (100 reached on Sept. 28, 2019 vs. Mississippi State)

Not every single person who attends a football game in Jordan-Hare Stadium knows Ric Smith.

But they’ve heard his voice.

Smith is in his 14th year as the stadium announcer for Auburn Tigers football.

“I think anyone who is connected with broadcasting in any way sees the Jordan-Hare Stadium announcer position as a dream job,” he said. “It is one of the best, and in my mind the best, announcing gigs in the country.”

Smith’s job is simply to announce what is happening. This includes pre-game and in-game announcements and play-by-play during the game. It sounds easy enough—just repeat what you see— but Smith couldn’t do it alone.

“There are so many people involved in making gameday what it is, and that is the best gameday experience in America,” he said.

Smith does all the talking but he gets help from several people, including Eric Canada, the spotter; Jason Harbison, backup announcer; Richard Stephens, scoreboard operator; Dan Heck and his marketing team with Auburn Athletics; media relations; the sound crew and the War Eagle Production staff.

“It’s very much this team effort. What usually happens in a typical game is I follow the ball. I see the quarterback take the ball, make a pass, make a handoff, so I’m focusing on that aspect of it,” Smith explained. “Eric is focusing on who is making the tackle. Then spotting the ball and giving me the down and distance.

“For example, I’ll announce, ‘Anthony Schwartz carries around right end,’ then I’ll announce the tackle that Eric feeds to me. And then we’ll see where the ball is marked down and I’ll make that announcement, ‘It’s 2nd and 3 from the 42.’ That’s essentially the idea.”

That’s how Saturdays are for Smith, but he has to plan and practice long before the Tigers take the field. He said a typical gameday week begins on Tuesday when he starts to pull information together for his spotting charts. Heck sends the script, which is continually updated throughout the week.

“I’ll take some time to sit down with the script, and usually a cup of tea, and just run through it,” said Smith. “I do that out loud as if it’s during the game because you can’t just do it in your head. It has to come out.

“My wife has heard the entire script before she actually goes to the game.”

Canada and Smith arrive at the stadium at least three hours before kickoff in order to have adequate time to settle in, run through the script again, touch base with a few people and have something to eat before announcements begin 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

“And then we’re off and running.”

Morning games mean Smith is doing more prep work on Friday night, sometimes “way past my bedtime,” he said. And then he’s up early Saturday morning to leave about 6:30 or 7 and arrive at the stadium by 8 for an 11 a.m. kickoff.

Smith, a native of Fairfax, Alabama, grew up an Auburn fan, listening to longtime stadium announcer Carl Stephens.

“One of the questions I’m asked more than any other is ‘how do you control your emotions?’ because the Auburn tradition is to be neutral,” he said. “That was true for Carl Stephens for 27 years and, as far as I know, that has always been the tradition. That’s how I learned to call games because I grew up as an Auburn fan listening to Carl.”

Smith’s answer: “I am here to do a job. Now I love Auburn. I want Auburn to win every single football game, but in that role, I’m not here to be a fan. I’m here to provide information. Gameday is, number one, about the players and it’s about the fans in the stands. That’s my focus, on them.”

Focus is crucial for Smith and his team.

“Yes, there’s a tremendous amount of activity that takes place so it’s a matter of staying focused and not being distracted by whatever movement may be taking place to either side or in front or behind, especially when the microphone is on,” he said.

Jordan-Hare Stadium isn’t the only place Auburn students and parents can hear Smith. He also announces the name of every student at graduation in May, August and December.

“A friend of mine once said that since football is such an important part of the Auburn culture, every student should have their name announced at least once by the stadium announcer,” he recalled

“I’m honored to be in that role and to have the opportunity to be a part of our students’ graduation day memories.”

Smith’s day job is as a lecturer in Auburn’s School of Communication and Journalism. He teaches classes and directs the school’s internship program.

“One of the classes I teach is News and Sports Announcing. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect football with the classroom experience,” he said.