Last Tuesday evening I got a call from a man in tears. He was a friend of Steve Daugherty, and he told me that Steve was in Morgantown facing a life and death operation for a brain aneurysm....and the prognosis was not good.
When you answer the telephone in a newsroom, you're used to bad news being on the other end: Murders, fatal fires, or tragic accidents. I was numb when I got off the phone. Steve Daugherty's a man so full of life, and now he was fighting for it. It was a fight that he would not win.
I think the first time I met Steve Daugherty he was sitting at the front counter at Jimmie Colombo's restaurant. It was some time in the early 90's. I didn't recognize the face, but I sure recognized the voice. Some people in broadcasting have their "on air" voice and their "off air" voice. Steve spoke with one voice. It was rich, warm, and friendly.
Steve was a Parkersburg high graduate, and he left the area to learn his craft as a broadcaster. He returned home at a time when the Big Reds radio situation was in a state of flux. Steve was in the right place at the right time, and he made the play-by-play job his own.
Steve was a fortunate man, and he knew it. He got to combine his passion for radio, sports, and his Alma Mater, and make a living at doing it.
I always enjoyed running into Steve before a game. He called me "Jimmy" , a name I hadn't answered to since my 13Th birthday. We would exchange information and jokes. You always came away from conversation feeling good.
Like thousands of people, I would listen to Steve's broadcasts. Usually, I was traveling between games, and I wanted to check in on the score, and he was just fun to listen to.
He didn't sugarcoat anything. His play-by-play style was descriptive, informative and opinionated. Steve's signature call was "Unbelievable!". He would hit each syllable hard with his pronunciation. Steve would use it to describe an incredible play, or to voice his displeasure over a questionable officials call.
Now it's just unbelievable that we will never again hear Steve's voice, his call, and his passion on football Fridays.