Larry Fredericks bids adieu to university sports

“The minute-flag is uuuuuUP,” for the last time as 16-year Concordia sports announcer Larry Fredericks has retired.
Anyone who has been to a football game at Concordia Stadium over the past two decades would recognize that unique voice.
The man behind the voice is the 66-year-old Fredericks, and he is retiring from university athletics, after 16 seasons of announcing at Concordia football and basketball games.
This was always a side job for him, as Fredericks’ CV reads like a Montreal sports lover’s wet dream.
In some capacity or another, Fredericks has been covering Habs, Expos,
Alouettes, Redmen and Stingers games for radio and print for nearly half a century.
“I’ve always wanted to be a radio announcer, they were heroes,” Fredericks’ said. “I felt it was as good a field as any that people were going into back in my day.”
Fredericks got his start in his junior year at McGill, when he was asked to
announce at Redmen football games.
The summer before he had his first taste of broadcasting at a Cornwall radio station.
Although he was majoring in commerce, Fredericks was steering his career towards broadcasting, hosting a weekend show at the McGill radio station.
As an extra-curricular event, Fredericks took the only broadcasting classes available at the time, radio workshop classes from now-defunct CFCF AM radio station.
“In those days it wasn’t hard for an Anglophone to get a job in broadcasting in Montreal,” he said.
On the day of graduation in 1956, Fredericks began as a sports reporter at the old Verdun FM station CKVL, which has since turned into CINF 690 AM, and her sister AM station CFCF, which is now CINW 940 News.
He was with CKVL for 43 years, and put his Bachelor’s degree to use when he became the station’s accountant in 1975.
His sports radio involvement reached its peak in the early 1990s when he was reporting for four different stations, including Q92 and CKOI.
Fredericks has since retired from radio, but his experience is still paying off.
As a member of an actor’s union, Fredericks is still getting calls to do
commercials for radio and TV.
He is becoming something of a minor celebrity among Montreal extras actors.
Fredericks was in two scenes with Robert DeNiro in the film “The Score,” though he was eventually edited out.
You might be able to catch Fredericks in crowd or riot scenes in the upcoming films Rollerball and The Sum of All Fears.
“I’m beating out all these young blond beauties. They’re a dime dozen,” he said.
“The directors need guys that have white hair, are old and overweight. There aren’t many of us [in the union] so I’m getting a lot of calls.”
Also at the age of 20, Fredericks began covering Montreal professional sports for wire services like UPI and Associated Press.
You won’t see his name on the articles, but his pieces are picked up by services like Reuter’s, CNN, ESPN and around 1,500 newspapers.
Fredericks is also a sports columnist at The Suburban, which is conveniently close to his Cote-St-Luc home.
One would think all these sports responsibilities would be a hefty strain on any marriage, but Fredericks says it has become an integral part of his family life.
“My two boys grew up at Jarry Park [the Expos’ home before the Big-O]. I’d bring them with me to all the games and they’d go with me into the dressing rooms after the game,” he said.
Nearly the same was true for Canadiens’ games, although he admits this left his daughter feeling a little left out.
Fredericks even jokes how his career affected his wife of 42 years, Concordia teacher Elaine Fredericks.
“Our marriage has lasted so long cause I’ve never been home to fight with her,” he said.
Fredericks wanted to keep announcing for both schools, but it became a problem for McGill and they gave him an ultimatum in 1987.
Upset, Fredericks chose Concordia.
Although he isn’t a Concordia employee, the athletics department gives him a gratuity at the end of every season.
Sometimes his old styles clash with the youth of the game.
“I don’t like the music at basketball games, I always ask the DJs why they don’t bring in good music like Sinatra,” Fredericks joked.
Fredericks says his best Concordia sports memory will be a football game a few seasons back against Laval that took two days to complete.
His last duties for Concordia basketball were at the Nike Tournament, and he closed off his football duties two weeks ago in the semi-final game.
As for why he has stuck with university athletics for so long, he can only
respond that it was his volunteer work.
“I didn’t do it for the money, believe me. I did it ’cause I love college
sports,” he said.
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