DR. PHILLIPS — If you listened closely during the College Football Playoff’s National Championship Game on Jan. 12, you might have heard a familiar voice and not even known it.
The public address announcer at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks was none other than John Magrino — an administrative dean at Dr. Phillips High School.
In addition to his duties as an employee of Orange County Public Schools, Magrino has been working on the side as a professional public address announcer at sporting events since he took his first paid gig with the Orlando Cubs, a minor league team that used to play at Tinker Field, in the mid-1990s.
Magrino has been the public address announcer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1998, but before that, the former athletic director for the Panthers got his start back in 1995 while at Cypress Creek High School, where former Bears coach Dave Langdon gave him a chance.
“(Langdon) gave me an opportunity to jump behind the mic and kind of give it a shot,” Magrino said. “I always wanted to do it and thought I could do it pretty well if given a chance.
“He was just one of those guys that just gives you a chance to do something, and it turned out to be a really good experience, and then one thing led to another and to another, and then you have what happened (on Jan. 12).”
What happened on that day was not the first time Magrino has worked on such a big stage — though it may be the most memorable. Magrino has served as the public address announcer for the Bowl Championship Series National Title Games in 2008 and 2013, but this year’s game was the first time that college football’s champion was decided by a four-team playoff.
“It becomes a Super Bowl-like atmosphere,” Magrino said, describing the difference between this year’s game and the past two he had called. “This is what everybody’s been waiting for, and it’s only going to get bigger and better as we go on. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”
That Magrino has had the flexibility to pursue his career while still fulfilling his obligations at Dr. Phillips High School has been something he credited to the administration, specifically the two principals he has worked under — current principal Dr. Suzanne Knight and her predecessor, Eugene Trochinski.
“None of this happens without the support of a phenomenal administration at Dr. Phillips High School … allowing me the opportunity to do it without consequence,” Magrino said. “They were as excited about it as I was.”
Magrino is hopeful to do more high-profile college football games, including future national championship games, and said there was a good chance he will get to work the 2016 Summer Olympics. As for how the veteran educator chooses to approach divulging his unique side gig to his students at Dr. Phillips, Magrino said he generally downplays it — except for when it might serve a greater purpose.
“I try to use it as an example to a lot of our kids, that if something is that important to you and you work at it enough, you can get where you want to go, no matter what the field is,” he said. “If you treat every event that you do as like the Super Bowl, somebody is going to notice — somebody will notice the effort that you put in, how seriously you take it, how mature you approach it and how professionally that you do it.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].