It’s the trademark “for threeeeeeeeeeeeee” that permeates the WVU Coliseum during basketball games.

Or you may recognize it from every commencement ceremony – that poor soul tasked with announcing the names of thousands of graduates.

Bill Nevin wouldn’t have it any other way. From a small farming community in Illinois, Nevin wound up in the Mountain State in 1990 as a radio journalist. Here, he met his wife Cindy and they raised two children, Ciara and Connor, both WVU alumni.

But beyond the distinct voice and being the father of WVU graduates, Nevin is engrained in the gold-and-blue community as a player in the University’s fundraising arm – the WVU Foundation.


Q: You're known as the voice of the major WVU sports, the Marching Band and Commencement. Where'd you get those pipes?

A: Some of us are blessed with clear and resonant voices, and I guess I am one of them. But I must credit my speech coaches, announcing colleagues and mentors along the way who have worked with me and shared a lot of their wisdom. They have helped me to define my speech personality, make improvements and develop my voice to its full potential through a lot of practice and repetitions.


Q: Every Commencement, you go over note cards that have pronunciations of graduates' names. What are some that stick out to you?

A: I know students are trying to be helpful by providing phonetics and instruction.  But some are quite amusing.  Like when a student tells me “It’s pronounced just like it sounds” or “It’s pronounced the same as it looks.” Another one of my favorites is “My name is pronounced just exactly like it’s spelled.”  And I always enjoy the ones who associate their name with celebrities. For example, “McCauley is pronounced just like the Home Alone actor” or “Mariah, like Mariah Carey.”


Q: Tips for aspiring announcers?

A: It’s all about practice and getting experience, really.  Record yourself delivering various types of scripts. Find a coach and mentor you admire and respect who will give you honest feedback and ways to improve.  Then keep doing it.  You only get better over time by working at your craft. Today, there are so many more opportunities available like podcasts and streaming platforms for a person interested in announcing to get that valuable experience.


Q: Tell us a little about your day job at the WVU Foundation and why it's an important engine for the University.

The Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University. I head up the Communications and Donor Engagement team which works closely with the development officers in stewarding our donors and telling the University’s story. Every year, the reliance on private support is greater, so showing how the generosity of our alumni and friends makes a difference is an important part of what we do. I’ve been with the WVU Foundation for 16 years and find the job extremely fulfilling.


Q: You're originally from Illinois. What was your hometown like? And how'd you end up in West Virginia?

A: Ottawa, Illinois is a small farming community of about 25,000 or so in the north central part of the state. I was born and raised there along with four siblings. I went to college about five hours south at SIU-Carbondale. Immediately after college, I worked at radio stations in Illinois and Missouri before moving to West Virginia in 1990 for work. I ended up meeting my wife here, and the Mountain State is now my home. 


Q: What are some things you like to do in your spare time?

A: I’m an adjunct instructor in the Reed College of Media. I really enjoy working with students, teaching courses in integrated marketing communications and voice performance for broadcasting. I love sports. So I’m usually watching a sports event – either in person or on TV – when I have a chance. I’m a huge Chicago Cubs fan. I also try and stay active in my local church. And, of course, when someone needs an emcee for a wedding reception, concert, fundraiser or similar type event – I’m your guy.


Favorite Things

Book: The Bible 

Movie: Forrest Gump and School of Rock 

Music:  Doobie Brothers and Chicago 

TV show: Forensic Files and The Andy Griffith Show 

Place: A sold out WVU Coliseum 

Food:  Fried Chicken 

Athlete:  The late Ernie Banks 

Announcer/Broadcaster:  Doc Emrick