San Diego sports media legend Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton cut his teeth calling high school football games in southeast Ohio

Published: September 19, 2023 Author: Cheri Russo

Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton’s sports media career has been one that most 12-year-olds dream about. He’s worked in the NFL, as the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks, in Major League Baseball as the host of the MLB Network’s Home Plate Baseball on Sirius XM, and in the World Hockey Association as the voice of the Cleveland Crusaders and the Indianapolis Racers. Hamilton has also been a radio sports talk show host, a freelance newspaper columnist, and a TV sports anchor. 

“I never imagined the road that I have traveled,” said Hamilton. “And as I reflect on my career, I can’t help but think about the Ohio University campus and WOUB and how it impacted my career. I am forever thankful for what it allowed me to become.”

Hamilton came to Ohio University in 1965 from Long Island, New York. He wanted to be a sportswriter. Hamilton had sports in his DNA. His father was a pro baseball player, and his uncle was a sportswriter in New York.

“I visited Ohio University and I just fell in love with the place,” said Hamilton. “I was initially interested in print journalism and then I crossed paths with Joe Tait.”

Tait is best known for his 40-year career as the radio play by play announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was inducted into the Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Ohio in 1992 and was selected as the founding member of the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004. But, before all of that Tait was the sports director at WOUB Radio and Television and the voice of the Ohio Bobcats from 1966 – 1968.

“One day I somehow ended up in the basement floor of the building where WOUB was located at the time,” said Hamilton. “And I peeked my head in Joe’s office and told him I was a huge sports fan and was interested in working on the radio. He immediately put me to work and helped me do sportscasts, and field reporting. Joe and I bonded and became friends. He gave me the knowledge to become a professional broadcaster.”

After a couple of years of working with Tait at WOUB, Hamilton was offered a job working at WLGN, a radio station in nearby Logan, Ohio. So, he continued working on his bachelor’s, and eventually master’s, degree while commuting from Athens to Logan for his job. Eventually, Hamilton was named program director at the Logan radio station.

“Back when I was a student at Ohio University, I worked at WOUB and broadcast the Bobcat football team in the Tangerine Bowl in 1968,” said Hamilton. “I called high school football games for the Logan Chieftains. Who would have thought back then that I would wind up as a long-time voice in the NFL?”

But Hamilton’s sports media career isn’t done just yet. He’s recently launched a website and started a sports podcast.

“It’s a different media world than when I started. But I’m trying new and different things and it’s going well,” said Hamilton. “Everyone comes from somewhere and my somewhere started at WOUB and Ohio University in Athens.”

About WOUB Public Media

As a member station of both NPR and PBS, WOUB Public Media is a trusted source of news, local content and educational resources that have proven to be worthy of the time, effort and support of our users. WOUB, an experiential-learning unit of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, is a non-profit, community-supported multimedia organization which provides online and broadcast services, along with non-broadcast educational services and student professional development. WOUB serves 55 counties throughout southeastern Ohio, western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky with its broadcast signals. WOUB Radio’s FM Network has transmitters in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Zanesville and Cambridge, while WOUB AM serves the immediate Athens area. WOUB TV is made up of seven television channels (WOUB HD, WOUB Classic, WOUB World, WOUB Create, WOUB Ohio, WOUB Kids and WOUB Voicecorps Reading Service) which are broadcast from two transmitters.

Through its support of public service, teaching, research and administrative missions, along with its high-quality local content and programming, WOUB enriches, enhances and expands the lives and horizons of the people in the communities it serves, as well as Ohio University faculty, staff and students.