The names on the jerseys have changed every year.
The name of the man calling out them hasn’t, not for 45 years.
“Ron Novotny is probably one of the most well-known guys, not only in Harlan and Shelby County, but probably in all of SW Iowa,” says Harlan athletics director and boys’ basketball coach, Mitch Osborn.
That’s because when the Harlan Cyclones are at state, Ron Novotny is on the air, and no school is at state more than Harlan.
“Well, I’ve seen probably 500-600 games here of state tournament basketball,” Novotny says. “When you’re in Harlan, you get football, you get baseball: you get state tournaments all the time.”
No other broadcaster has seen what he has, at least 20 state titles, from the 12 they’ve won on the football field, to the girls’ championship netted just last weekend.
“He’s even attempted to do some soccer when we went to state!” Osborn laughs, “he doesn’t know anything about it, but he educated himself for it.”
“It’s what all the kids work for” Novotny says, “and kind of what you work for as a broadcaster, too, is getting here to announce those big games.”
It never gets old–not even at age 65–not for a guy who’s found his calling in calling games.
“Would you say you’re known as a homer? Yes I am,” he says.
“If a call goes against us” Osborn says, “whether it’s right or wrong, it’s against us.”
And that’s just fine in the Harlan community, after all, they’ve been winning for generations, and Ron Novotny has seen it and brought it home to them.