By Tim Chambers
Sports fans in Johnson County are fortunate they have radio and internet that broadcast Longhorns’ football, basketball and now baseball and softball games. And the best word to describe the man behind the microphone is simply “Tom Terrific.”
Nobody does Longhorn sports better than Tom Reece. The former Longhorn standout in basketball and baseball graduated in 1964 and has been a loyal supporter ever since.
In addition to his broadcasting duties, he takes time to visit the nursing homes and is active in his church. He was on the Johnson County School Board for 16 years and has worked in the local youth leagues for more than four decades. He’s also a well respected veteran, serving as a naval officer during the Vietnam War.
“I love Johnson County,” said Reece. “I worked in Damascus, Virginia before moving to Ohio for five years. I came back and spent 10 years at Maymead before retiring. It was great to get back home where I was raised. Johnson County has always been home and you it miss when you’re gone.”
Like many fans would miss Reece if he wasn’t broadcasting games on WCMT, 1390 AM.
“We do all the varsity football games and one basketball game per week,” added Reece. “We also do all the basketball tournament games. Now we can be heard on the internet in addition to being on the radio locally. It’s a good way to keep up with our high school teams.”
This year Reece and WCMT 1390 AM stepped it up even more. Fans were able to listen to some baseball and softball games for the first time. Included was also a middle school softball game.
“One year we did a middle school football game when they reached the playoffs,” added Reece. “I’m willing to do it but you have to have sponsors and somebody at the station. You have to have certain logistics when you broadcast any type of ball game. There are a lot of things that factor in.”
Reece does have helpers.
Middle school softball coach Greg Reece assists Tom during football games. He, Brad Reece and Jerry Whitener all make up the basketball side.
But baseball and softball are a different story.
“I probably like broadcasting baseball the best because you can talk between pitches,” said Reece. “The other sports, especially basketball is so fast paced. You have to be on top of every play.”
From military naval officer during the Vietnam War in the Philippians to Ohio and back to Mountain City, Reece is well respected everywhere he goes.
His wife, Belinda, is a fantastic cook who sends awesome desserts during football and basketball games. He has a son and daughter, Brad and Stacy, and they have worn several hats in the Longhorns’ organization.
His three grandchildren, Gabe, Gavin and Graham are all Longhorn athletes.
Reece recalled one of his favorite all time games he did on the air.
“We were playing Elizabethton and they were very good. We held the ball and led them after the first half. The final score ended up being something like 25-22. They were so much more talented, but we did keep it close. That game has always stood out and the one where we beat them about three years ago.”
Reece was making reference to the 50-45 victory three years ago inside of Treadway Gymnasium versus the Cyclones.
He is not afraid to tell people on the air what color his blood runs.
“Sullivan East has a lot of fans close by and they listen to us when we play them,” said Reece. “I always let them know that I am from Johnson County before the broadcast begins. I tell them I’m a homer and ask them not to be offended by what’s said during the broadcast.”
The fact is that Reece doesn’t say anything bad to get mad about, especially Longhorn fans.
“I never say which kid got a penalty or technical over the air,” added Reece. “I want parents and fans to enjoy the broadcast. We’re not in this to embarrass kids. We want to try and help them.”
Football is only a couple of months away and so is “Radio Reece.”
Fans are expecting a terrific season in football and basketball.
All Longhorn fans should applaud “Tom Terrific” for bringing Longhorn sports to us. We couldn’t find anyone better to be the “voice of the Horns.”
Thank you for your services.