By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala - Mark Haon, Auburn’s softball public address announcer since the program’s inception, says he developed his signature sound by listening to a legendary PA man on the Plains.
“When I first started, one of the folks who mentored me was Carl Stephens,” Haon says. “Loved him to death. Just listening to Carl on the mic. Very easy going. That laid-back kind of old-school sound. When I picked up a microphone and started doing it, it just kind of came out that way, and no one complained. I kept doing it.
“The Jane B. Moore field is just kind of the throwback to the olden days of ball, so it’s been great.”
Listening to Haon read through lineups and make announcements might remind fans of a circus ringmaster or carnival barker of yesteryear.
“Ladies and gentlemen…..”
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“What I hope to add and bring to the fans is that sense that this is their field, these are their players. I’m just the background noise, but I’ve been the constant through 19 years, and glad to be here with the Tigers,” Haon says.
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Auburn first fielded a softball team in 1997, playing off campus until Jane B. Moore Field was constructed.
“It’s funny. To go back to the beginning, talking about Auburn softball at the city softball complex,” Haon remembers. “Fans typically consisted of people watching some of the other softball games that were going on. They would come over and watch an Auburn softball game. They would say, “Oh, Auburn has a team.’
“To see that progress to us building a field, building stands, and seeing this place explode in the past few years. Seeing the upper deck seats, and everything else. It’s been absolutely amazing.”
When he’s not behind the mic, Haon works as a Proposal Services Administrator for Auburn’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
“We find faculty finding, we help them develop their proposals, and help them create budgets,” he says. “Then get their proposals submitted and hopefully be a winning proposal, get the money back in, and then help them along with everything that goes with that.”
Haon’s co-workers can always tell when it’s gameday.
“I laugh when I come in and I’m in an Under Armour shirt,” he says. “They’ll say, ‘You’re going to go do some announcing today?’ Then I get to sneak out, come over here and do this.”
With his enthusiasm for the PA gig, Haon could eventually equal the tenure of his mentor. Stephens served as public address announcer for Auburn football for nearly three decades, while spending several more seasons doing baseball PA at Plainsman Park.
“Any parent will tell you if you find a job that you absolutely love and you can get paid doing it, do it.” Haon says. “I absolutely love it, which is why I’ve kept doing it over the years. I get great seats, and here lately, I get great seats to some amazing games. Have loved women’s softball over the years and fallen in love with it.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer