Teaching and talking on the Wilde side
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Perching like a vigilant owl in his wooden press box lookout tower atop the home stands of Stubler Memorial Field, Mike Wilde glances at student-athletes below.
His mouth, highlighted by a pepper-gray mustache shading his upper lip, moves up and down readily. His smooth and assuring voice flows through the speakers, educating fans and parents who’s got the ball, who made the tackle, who scored the touchdown.
His soft, welcoming eyes are as kind as they are experienced. Having coached or announced sporting events for 28 years, 24 of those in Glenwood, Wilde has seen more sporting events than most will see in a lifetime.
Wearing a headset fitting of an offensive coordinator, Wilde’s hands are free to rest comfortably in the front pocket of his gray hooded sweatshirt that reads Taylor University ” the school his son Taylor plays baseball for.
Wilde has created a fan-friendly atmosphere at Glenwood, based on sportsmanship and appreciation for high school athletics ever since he first began announcing in the late 1980s.
“I think (announcing) adds to the flavor of the game and it really does help with lots of things ” fan control, positive school spirit, keep people tuned in to the game,” Wilde said.
He is also careful not to allow his bias toward Glenwood Springs High School to creep into his announcing: “I figure if I call the game no one should really know if (Glenwood) is ahead or behind at the end of the game. It should be a positive experience.”
His love for high school sports is unparalleled, proven by the fact that for 25 years Wilde has existed without a television set at his home in Canyon Creek. Fine by him ” he’d just as soon watch prep sports.
“I think that high school sports is where it’s at,” Wilde said. “This is fun. This is pure. This is where kids are playing for the love of the game. To me, this is exciting.”
Glenwood sports are Wilde’s lifeblood. While he’ll admit he’s a Broncos and Rockies fan, first and foremost, he’s fan loyalty lies with the Demons.
“I am a big Demon fan. If you cut me, I’m going to bleed Demon red,” he said.
Dedicating his life to kids in the classroom, as he has done as an admired science teacher at Glenwood for a quarter of a century, wasn’t enough for Wilde. Captivated by an undying passion to combine his love for sports, kids and teaching, Wilde took up the coaching and announcing vocations in his first teaching job in Julesberg more than 25 years ago.
“That’s where I really began to understand I really liked working with kids in the coaching venue,” he said. “To me, announcing is kind of an extension of that.”
Starting in the early 1980s, he coached the Demon track team for eight years and was a defensive coordinator for the football squad for nine. He took a small break from coaching when his wife Debbie gave birth to their second child, but he missed teaching kids about sports so much, he returned as Glenwood’s head baseball coach for another eight years.
He then retired from coaching in 2002 and took on announcing full time, which he does for Glenwood’s football, soccer, volleyball and basketball teams. Then the girls and boys junior varsity soccer teams were in a bind and in need of a coach. So, of course, Wilde couldn’t remain on the sidelines. This fall, though, he concentrated solely on announcing.
“I just love sports. I love helping people understand a little bit better. A lot of times I think that makes me a better announcer too because I can anticipate,” Wilde said. “I’ve coached football, I’ve coached soccer, I’ve watched a lot of basketball so it’s easy to kinda get a feel for what’s going to happen. It’s just fun and I try to make it a positive experience for the kids.”
Wilde’s career as a teacher will end this May when he retires. Although he’s not sure what retirement has in store for him or how he’ll fill his free time, his role as a Demon lover, and as an educator, will never subside.
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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