A FAMU alumnus, Hemmingway was selected among a group of nearly 30 contestants after participating in a selection process which included interviews, reading and voice over sessions that aired nationally on the Fox Sports Network this past summer. Since then the former student President of the Marching “100” and student athlete on the FAMU Tennis Team has announced two home games.
“Watching how engaged the fans can be and how engaged the fans are has been the most enjoyable part for me,” Hemmingway said. “When I’m walking across campus or walking in the community they either say, ‘hey, there’s the voice or make some noise.’ So that tells me they are apparently listening to what’s happening,” he added.
Hemmingway described a genuine love for FAMU as his reason for applying for the coveted announcer position.
“I looked at it and I thought, should I do it or not? So I waited until the last minute. The deadline was on a Friday and I think I waited until 4:30 p.m. to apply. I’ve done some key announcing for a couple of band programs and of course public speaking. But what drew me to this is an opportunity to serve FAMU in this capacity and be able to add another dimension to FAMU football,” he said.
Becoming the new announcer was both exciting and a bit overwhelming according to Hemmingway.
“It really meant a lot knowing the tradition that FAMU holds athletically, especially in the sport of football and how much football means to the FAMU community. Being able to serve them in this fashion is truly an honor,” Hemmingway said.
Victor Gaines, President of the Leon County Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, and former drum major in the Marching “100” said he is thrilled about Hemmingway’s new role.
“He provides a great deal of excitement for the fans and is real creative about how he gets them involved, that’s part of what he used to do as a member of the trombone section in the band,” Gaines said.
Helping to transform Bragg stadium into a formidable place for visiting teams on game day is a primary component of Hemmingway’s vision for his new position.
‘I’m trying to make sure that Bragg Stadium is engaged. That Bragg Stadium will be the most intimidating football stadium in all of HBCU Sports. We have one of the larger stadiums and when we are engaged it makes a difference in the ballgame,” Hemmingway said.
In order to help accomplish hi goal Hemmingway has already established a phrase for Rattler Fans by referring to them as the “13th Man.”
“We coined the phrase so that when teams come into Bragg Stadium they feel as if they are playing against 13 people, the band will be the 12th man and the 13th man will be the Rattler Nation,” Hemmingway said.
Gaines believes Hemmingway is off to a great start toward making his vision reality.
“He provides a lot of energy at the games and I think that as he continues to do this, the fans will reciprocate that same energy. He could really help make that energy the reason people start to fear coming into Bragg,” Gaines said.
While helping keep the team pumped up during the game is the main focus, Hemmingway said he wants Rattler Fans to leave Bragg stadium feeling like they made an impact in the game.
“When you know you played a part it makes a difference and you want to come back again because success breeds more success,” he said.