SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Fans will be hearing a familiar voice over the airwaves at the Missouri State Bears’ first home football game this Saturday at Plaster Stadium.
Art Hains, the legendary broadcaster, will be back calling his first game since a life-threatening battle with West Nile virus.
Hains has been known as the voice of the bears for more than 40 years and he said he has been looking forward to Saturday for a long time.
“I couldn’t have imagined a year ago,” Hains said. “But really, I’ve been working the last six months or so toward getting back to this point.”
It has been a year since Hains has announced a game, He has been recovering from West Nile virus after a mosquito bite. At this time last year, Hains was in the hospital in critical condition. He said getting back to broadcasting has been part of his motivation throughout his recovery.
“But the Bears are my team they’ve been for my whole adult life,” Hains said. “And that’s why I’m so anxious to get back and be a part of that again.”
Corey Riggs has worked with Hains for the last nine years. He said it’s been difficult filling in for Hains and that no one could fill his shoes.
“Art is Missouri State. I mean, he is the bear,” Riggs said. “And so that’s what will make Saturday just that much more special is him getting back in, doing what he loves and what everybody loves to hear him do.”
Hains admitted he’s a little nervous for Saturday.
“This is something that’s just been second nature to me for so many years,” Hains said. “And I am a little bit hesitant about it just from a standpoint not really the stamina, but just being able to handle my charts, make sure I’m accurate on the calls and things like that.”
The press box at Plaster Stadium has been modified to help Hains see the field from his wheelchair on Saturday. He is ready to go, and many fans are excited to listen.
“This Saturday may be the first time that him just saying hello or welcome is an iconic call,” Riggs said. “Because it means so much about the work that he, his family, and all the medical professionals have put him to get him back to where he wants to be.”
Hains will be calling the home games this season. He said he wants to keep working for a few more years. Kickoff against Utah Tech on Saturday is set for 2 p.m.