Growing up, Gene Deckerhoff was honored as a Little League All-Star and named Basketball All-City as a senior at Forrest High School in Jacksonville. As a freshman he was the starting point guard and second leading scorer on the St. Johns River Junior College Vikings basketball team that won the State Junior College Championship. It was that love of sports that led him into broadcasting.
Gene began his career in 1964 with WWPF in Palatka as a weekend announcer. His first sports assignment was as engineer/announcer of a little league all star game during the summer of 1965. The next year, while finishing work on a bachelor’s degree, Gene became evening announcer at WGGG in Gainesville. His sports experience there began when the station needed "someone who knew something about basketball" to broadcast high school games.
After a hiatus of four and a half years in management and sales with Southern Bell Telephone and General Foods Corporation, Gene re-started his broadcast career at WTRL in Bradenton in 1971. He spent a year there as a weekend part-timer then began full time work as a deejay, account executive and sports announcer. His first football broadcast was in the fall of 1972 when he shared play-by-play chores with news director Dean Edwards. By the winter of 1974, he had moved to Tallahassee and was the voice of Florida State University basketball at WTNT-AM, sharing play-by play duties with Ed Littler. He became sole play-by-play announcer in 1975. The following year, he began his TV career – first as sports director for the local ABC affiliate (while continuing to broadcast daily 2 minute sports shows on WGLF-FM) and then as co-sports director at the CBS-TV affiliate two years later.
Gene auditioned for the FSU football play-by-play job and was named "Voice of the Seminoles" in 1979. In 1980 he began co-hosting the weekly "Bobby Bowden Show" which aired state-wide during football season. In November 1983, he was named Director of Electronic Media and his primary duties were coordinating the Seminole Radio Network, and acting as executive producer and talent on the “Bobby Bowden Show”. He also produced "Great Moments in FSU Football" with Burt Reynolds which debuted in the fall of 1984. During this time he was also the play-by-play "Voice of the Tampa Bay Bandits" of the USFL for the three years the team and the league were in business.
In 1989, Gene was named "Voice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers" and hired by flagship station WRBQ to broadcast Bucs games with Jessie "The Body" Ventura and local TV personality Al Keck. The trio manned the mikes for two seasons before WQYK/Infinity Broadcasting acquired the broadcast rights in 1991 and teamed him with former Bucs’ defensive standout Dave Logan. In 1999, former Bucs’ linebacker Scott Brantley replaced Logan and Ronnie Lane was added to report from the sidelines.
When the new flagship station for the Buccaneers became Thunder 103.5 and 620 WDAE The Sports Animal in 2004, Gene was again joined by Brantley and Lane. In 1990 and 1991, he hosted the Ray Perkins/Richard Williamson Show on St. Pete’s WTOG-TV Channel 44 and started Gene Deckerhoff Productions, specialists in sports play-by-play and the production of commercials and videos for radio and TV.
As voice of the Florida State Seminoles, Gene has broadcast three national championship football games – 1998, 1999 and 2000. He’s worked for WTOG-TV as the “Voice of the Tampa Bay Storm” and for Sunshine Network as the “Voice of the Orlando Predators” for a total of eight seasons. He and his Buccaneer network teammates broadcasted the most successful season in Tampa Bay history, culminating in the Bucs’ Super Bowl XXXVII win over the Oakland Raiders on January 26, 2003.
During his many years in broadcasting, Gene has accumulated numerous awards including “Florida Sportscaster of the Year” ten times (more than any other sports announcer in Florida) and the prestigious “Silver Medal Award” from the Tallahassee Advertising Federation in 1991. He was judged “Best Play-by-Play Announcer” from 1979 to 1996 by the Florida Sportscasters Association and inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 (only the 4th sports broadcaster to be so honored). In 2002, he was named recipient of the Moore-Stone Award and inducted into the Florida State University Athletics Hall of Fame. He’s also been honored with the Florida State University Circle of Gold Medal for outstanding service to the university and became a member of the Florida Community College Activities Association Hall of Fame in November 2004.
1971 - 1974 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)