ESPN Radio play-by-play announcer Sean Kelley chosen as next 'Voice of the Florida Gators'
Sean Kelley has been hired as the next "Voice of the Gators," the University Athletic Association announced Wednesday. Kelley, who arrives at Florida by way of ESPN, is just the fourth person to hold the position — which was recently vacated by Mick Hubert's retirement — since 1940.
"Florida is one of the elite of the elites with regard to intercollegiate athletics," Kelley said. "That makes it not only a destination job for anyone in our business, it makes it a destination job for those who have reached certain heights in our business."
Kelley brings over 20 years of professional experience with him to Gainesville, including the last three years at ESPN as the lead play-by-play voice for college football on ESPN Radio. Kelley also has provided commentary for the NFL, NBA, MLB and college basketball.
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Recently, Kelley called the Houston Astros' no-hitter this season against the New York Yankees, and was on the call in Fenway Park Monday for the Red Sox vs. the Rays. Kelley also called Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. In 2021, Kelley served as the play-by-play announcer on national radio when Florida football faced LSU, and again in 2019 when the Gators battled Miami and LSU.
“I am excited to have someone with Sean’s talents and experience as the new play-by-play voice of the Gators,” said UF athletics director Scott Stricklin. “This position attracted a large number of highly-qualified applicants, but Sean rose above the field early on in this process.”
Before arriving at ESPN, Kelley was the longtime voice of the New Orleans Pelicans (previously the New Orleans Hornets). From 2005 until the 2019 season, Kelley also led multiple facets of the Pelicans Radio Network, including client and affiliate relations.
Kelley, a St. Louis native who graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Southern Illinois, served as the voice of Tulane University's athletic department from 2002 until 2005. He arrived after working at KFRU in Columbia, Mo. from 1998-2002, where he was the station's sports director, anchor and host. Kelley also called play-by-play for the Mizzou baseball team and coordinated the pre-game, halftime and post-game show for the Missouri Tiger Radio Network.
"With the two new head coaches I'll be working with, there's an excitement level at Florida that is unparalleled in the country with Billy Napier and Todd Golden. And then the tradition of success at that university. It's undeniable how attractive the Florida job is and how deeply humbled I am that I would even be considered, let alone chosen as the person to be a part of that and to follow a 33-year legend in Mick Hubert. The lineage of the 'Voice of the Gators,' not only is it a short list, but it's a Hall-of-Fame list."