New ‘Voice of the Gators’ named

Florida announces hiring of Sean Kelley after retirement of legendary Mick Hubert

Sean Kelley (University Athletic Association)

Sean Kelley has been hired as the next “Voice of the Gators,” replacing the legendary Mick Hubert who retired earlier this year, the University Athletic Association announced Wednesday.

Kelley is just the fourth person to hold the position since 1940.

“Florida is one of the elite of the elites with regard to intercollegiate athletics,” said Kelley. “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.

“With the two new head coaches I’ll be working with, there’s an excitement level at Florida that is unapparelled 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.”

Kelley, a St. Louis native who holds a degree in broadcast journalism from Southern Illinois University, has more than 20 years of professional experience. He spent the last three years at ESPN, where he was hired in July 2019 as the lead play-by-play voice for college football on ESPN Radio. There, he has also provided commentary on national radio broadcasts for the NFL, NBA, MLB and college basketball.

Prior to joining ESPN, Kelley was the voice of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2005 to 2019.

In 2012, he was hired by the New Orleans Saints as a host assisting with the team’s digital media department and a television reporter.

Kelley was the voice of the Tulane Green Wave from 2002 to 2005. Prior to that, from 1998 to 2002, he was the sports director for a radio station in Columbia, Missouri, where he also called play-by-play for the Missouri Tigers baseball team while hosting the pregame, halftime and post-game show for the Mizzou radio network for two years.

And it won’t be his first time calling a Gators game. Kelley did play-by-play on national radio in 2021 when the Florida football team played LSU and twice in 2019 when the Gators faced 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 Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. “This position attracted a large number of highly-qualified applicants, but Sean rose above the field early on in this process.”

In addition to his broadcasting career, Kelly served as a firefighter for about five years — from 2012 to 2017.

Kelly has big shoes to fill. Hubert announced his retirement in May after exciting Florida fans for more than three decades with his signature “Oh, my!”

Hubert, 68, called more than 2,500 Florida games, including national championships and iconic plays like “Doering’s got a touchdown.”

Hubert said there wasn’t a specific moment when he decided to step away from behind the mic, where he called every Florida football game since the season opener in 1989 — the year he was hired by Florida. Those games include the Gators’ first football national title (1996), as well as the 2006 and 2008 national championships. Instead, Hubert said, it was more of a feeling.

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