Born: August 10, 1948

The Saint Louis University men’s soccer team has played more than 400 home games since the start of the 1972 season. Bill McDermott estimates he’s missed no more than 15 of them since he became the Billikens’ first — and to this day, only — full-time public address announcer that year.

Which means McDermott — a 1970 SLU alumnus who helped lead the men’s soccer team to national championships in 1967 and 1969 — has attended and announced better than 95 percent of the Billikens’ home contests the past 42 years.

Of course, he’s done much more for the sport nationally, including broadcasting 11 World Cups and earning the nickname “Mr. Soccer” from none other than Bob Costas, making McDermott a perfect fit for induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and its Class of 2018.

“I still get excited when I do it. I love watching these players,” McDermott once said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be around, but one of my fondest aspirations or desires is to see Saint Louis U. get an 11th star on their shirt. I’d sure as heck like to see it happen.”

McDermott, a graduate of since-defunct McBride High School, began his career by providing reports for KMOX Radio during the FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

Since then, he has covered every World Cup on either radio or television. He helped broadcast the 1994 World Cup in the United States and the 1998 World Cup in France for ABC and ESPN. He provided analysis for the first soccer game ever televised on ESPN (1979) and was the sideline reporter for ABC’s broadcast of the inaugural Major League Soccer game in 1996.

McDermott, initially began playing soccer as a first grader at St. Philip Neri in St. Louis’ Walnut Park. Don Ceresia, a 1964 First Team All-American and two-time national champion at SLU, was “the lord of the schoolyard,” as McDermott dubbed him.

“Anyone who went to St. Philip Neri idolized Don because Don went to Saint Louis University. That’s where we all wanted to go,” McDermott said. “You may have thought you were ready to play in the upper schoolyard, but not until Don said so.”

McDermott proved himself to Ceresia, who took McDermott to SLU home games at Fairground Park in north St. Louis.

“I had a strong feeling I wanted to (attend SLU),” McDermott said, “but once I went to that very first game at Fairground, I said, ‘This is it. This is where I want to go.”

McDermott’s stayed following the departure of Bob Guelker, the team’s first head coach who left to institute a men’s soccer program at Southern Illinois University.

McDermott remained because SLU’s second coach was Harry Keough, who became the winningest coach in Billiken history and a National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee.

“All the stars lined up on this one,” McDermott said. “Not only are we getting a chance to go to Saint Louis University, but wait, all of the sudden Bob Guelker is leaving. But oh, wait further, Harry Keough and (assistant coach) Val Pelizarro are coming. I guess things are going to be OK.”

In a seven-year span from 1967-1973, Keough led the Billikens to five of their record 10 national championships.

After earning a communication design degree from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1972, McDermott returned to St. Louis to become SLU’s associate athletic director under A.D. Larry Albus.

In the summer of ‘72, McDermott got his first shot at announcing a game. Alongside play-by-play broadcaster Frank Glieber, he called a North American Soccer League contest between the St. Louis Stars and Dallas Tornado, which aired on KPLR Channel 11 in St. Louis.

And that’s how it all began for McDermott, who met his wife, Connie, at SLU graduation in 1970. They had three daughters – Elizabeth and twins Colleen and Mary.

Mary passed away in 2008. However, the family has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars so a Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital hybrid cardiac catheterization suite could be built — and later named — in Mary’s honor. After birth, she had undergone three heart surgeries and two liver operations.

“It makes us as a family eternally grateful to all these friends, family members and supporters,” McDermott said. “They get what we’re trying to do as a family, and that is two-fold: to continue to honor Mary’s memory and her length at the hospital, and to continue to raise money so other sick children at Cardinal Glennon can … get back in the game.”