One announcer’s voice has been echoing through radio waves since before most of his fans were even born.
Broadcast and sports analyst Rusty Hilst, who is retiring after 50 years, will leave a lasting legacy long after his days behind the microphone are over.
Hilst is ending five decades as the voice of Eagle Radio, Hutchinson High School and Hutchinson Community College. For him, the years of announcing is not a hassle.
“I never look at it as a job,” Hilat said. “It’s fun”
Hilst put on the headset at the age of 26, simply by chance.
“A broadcaster sidekick got sick and I was asked to fill in for one game, and I haven’t shut up since,” says Hilst.
Growing up, Hilst wasn’t able to play sports due to Rheumatic Fever at a young age. But athletics is a nitch that has continued to stream through his veins. And announcing isn’t his only love.
Broadcasting is my hobby and teaching is my passion,” says Hilst.
He’s a calculus teacher for Hutchinson High School, stepping away from the mic but not the pencil.
“He’s been an institution here at Hutch High, influenced many lives, helped a lot of kids be successful and we just really treasure him here at Hutchinson high school,” says Hutch High principal Ronn Roehm.
The love and respect for Hilst moves across the state of Kansas as schools have honored him in his last year of announcing .
“He’s kind of a staple at Hutch High,” says Hutch High student Evann Deal. “He’s been here for so long and everybody knows about him.”
Also, for 30 years, Hilst served as a golf coach for the SaltHawk’s, even being honored by the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame.
“I feel like I’m one of the luckiest people walking the face of the earth to be able to do all the things that I’ve done and have none of them seem like a job,” Hilst said.
And don’t think, for a second, he will forget about sports after retirement day, he plans to move on over to a regular seat in the stands.
“Yeah, I’ll come to the games,” Hilst said. “I enjoy sports. I like the kids. I like the environment. Yea, you bet.”