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Edwards Retires as FSN Radio Broadcaster
For the first time in nearly three decades, followers of Liberty Athletics will hear a new voice on the radio airwaves next year, as longtime play-by-play broadcaster Jerry Edwards has announced his retirement from the Flames Sports Network.
"Words cannot express the deep appreciation and gratitude we have for what Jerry Edwards has done for Liberty Athletics," said Jeff Barber, Liberty University Director of Athletics. "He has been a pioneer for our program and his tireless contributions will never be forgotten."
Edwards, who is known as the "Voice of the Flames," just recently completed his 29th year as Liberty Athletics' play-by-play broadcaster for the Flames' football, men's basketball and baseball programs.
He has broadcast more than 300 football games and 800 men's basketball contests, having traveled as far as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico to cover Liberty's athletic programs.
Within the last year, the Victory FM network has greatly expanded its footprint by purchasing translators that put the 50,000-watt flagship radio station all across the Commonwealth and into four surrounding states, resulting in Edwards' decision to step away from the broadcast booth.
"While we understand the need Jerry has to devote his full attention to the newly expanded Victory FM radio network, it is with great sadness we watch him leave the Flames Sports Network," continued Barber.
"The radio booth in our newly constructed football press box will be named in his honor. It is important that all followers of Liberty Athletics never forget the original ‘Voice of the Flames' and the impact he has had on our University."
Edwards began his broadcasting career in 1968 at WNYN radio and WJAN-TV in Canton, Ohio, broadcasting high school and college football, basketball and baseball. In 1971, he and his family moved to Paducah, Ky., where he worked for WDXR radio and television. He then moved to Evansville, Ind., where he was sports director for WTVW-TV, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, to work for WSUM radio.
In 1979, Edwards moved to Lynchburg, Va., to attend the Liberty Bible Institute. Edwards was hired to broadcast his first Flames football game just after the opening of the 1981 season.
His first game in the radio booth on the Flames Sports Network was in Salisbury, N.C., for Liberty's game against Catawba on Sept. 12, 1981. Since that fateful day, the "Voice of the Flames" has only missed one football game and just a handful of men's basketball games.
The Flames Sports Network was started three years prior to Edwards' hiring and now has grown to cover Liberty's football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's soccer and women's soccer programs over the last 30-plus years.
"My decision to step away from my play-by-play duties comes from a number of things, but most pressing was that the University has decided that Victory FM would build a far-reaching network," commented Edwards.
"This really started with Dr. (Jerry) Falwell's vision of us being able to have a radio presence in many cities in Virginia and northern North Carolina. Jerry Falwell, Jr., has carried on that vision and we now have five full-power radio stations and 24 operation translators that have greatly expanded our coverage."
Liberty Athletics will now begin a nationwide search for someone to take over the reins that Edwards is leaving behind him, following 29 years of service. Edwards will now focus his efforts as the Victory FM radio network manager, as he looks to fulfill the vision set forth for the station.
"This was a tough decision to make, regardless of what is happening currently within and around Liberty Athletics," stated Edwards.
"Over the years, you are called several things. My wife has a special name for me, much like any other husband does, and my kids call me dad, which is a big name. My granddaughters call me Papa and I love that name. But for 29 years, I've been called the ‘Voice of the Flames,' and to me that is a pretty special title."
Much like the rest of the University has grown from a small Christian college started in 1971, Edwards has helped grow the Flames Sports Network to one of the more respected NCAA Division I radio networks in the country.
The University's nationwide search will look to bring in someone with Division I broadcast experience, as Liberty Athletics strives to become a program of national prominence both on the field and on the airwaves.
Those expressing a serious interest in the program should contact Liberty University Associate Athletics Director Kevin Keys, who will oversee the nationwide search. Keys can be reached by phone at (434) 592-3905 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.