In the early 1980s, when he first began teaching at Carl Junction High School, Terry Higgins was asked to be the public address announcer for junior varsity and freshmen football games.
He still remembers that first contest – a 6-0 JV Bulldog victory against East Newton – but little did he know that press boxes and scorer’s tables would become his home away from home.
Higgins served as the public address announcer for Carl Junction High School football games from 1993 to 2022, and later handled the same role for numerous other sports. That’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Higgins with the Class of 2023.
Along the way, his wife, Lynne, and children, Terra and Andrew, worked beside him. While the public probably didn’t realize the time and effort Higgins put in just preparing for games, they certainly will forever remember his first down calls – “First Dooooown, Bulldogs!” – that livened up Friday nights.
“I have been the ‘Voice of the Bulldogs’ for at least two or three generations of players, students and fans. I have had the opportunity to announce the names of children of former players and students that I once taught, coached and called their names on Friday nights,” Higgins said. “Not a game goes by that a former CJ student doesn’t stop at the football press box or basketball scorer’s table to say hello or to bring someone – a child, a new spouse – to meet Mr. Higgins. These experiences and being such an integral part of sports here at CJHS has given me a sense of pride, honor and accomplishment. It is something my family and I will cherish forever.”
In his tenure, Higgins worked about 175 varsity football games, a number that surpasses 400 when adding junior varsity and freshmen (1983-2022), as well as junior high (2001-2022) games. For many of those games, Terra ran the 25/40 second play clock and Lynne was his spotter, handling the yards and downs on the scoreboard. From the mid-1980s until his retirement in 2023, Higgins also worked as a PA announcer, scorekeeper and clock operator for boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, track and field, cross country, boys’ and girls’ soccer, baseball, and volleyball. Higgins also coached boys’ basketball and baseball and is still the all-time winningest softball coach in school history.
In May 2023, after 43 years, he retired from his position as a History and Psychology teacher and Social Studies departmental chair at Carl Junction High School.
Higgins treated every game as if it were the most important in town.
For football games, he would arrive by 4:15 PM for a 7 PM kickoff, but some legwork was done weeks in advance, securing rosters and assigning students to type names and enlarge the printouts so they could be easily read on game nights.
The day before a game or the morning of, he would receive game announcements, halftime routines, and additional notes. Prior to the game, Higgins met with opposing coaches and broadcasters for pronunciations, and huddled with referees to go over rules – he would study up on those in the offseason – and their signals.
Some of his favorite memories include the 2022-2023 girls’ basketball team (30-2, state runner-up), the 2005-2006 boys basketball team (23-5, 7-0 in Big 8 Conference) that included his son, and the night in 2000 when his daughter scored the first points in the school’s new gymnasium. He has announced games for all 16 members of Carl Junction’s 1,000-point scoring club since 1980, including 2,000-point club member Destiny Buerge.
Higgins would like to thank the athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans for their support. A special thank you goes out to mentors and friends H.B. Davis, Jack Heflin, Larry Bunn, Tom Hodge (MSHOF 2016), Gary Watts, Mike Canton, Bob Tignor, Mickey Heatherly, John Roberson, Warren Turner (MSHOF 2014), Kevin Rhinehart, Craig Lynch, John Buck, Bill Ganaway, Rick McCulley, Derek Price, and Zeke Spieker.
“As the ‘Voice of the Bulldogs,’ my goal has always been to treat each contest and sport with respect, dignity, and professionalism,” Higgins said. “It has been my mission to make the games about the players, to help fans follow the contest, to make the officials’ job a little easier, to ensure the game moves smoothly, and to enjoy the moment. Based on the memories and feedback shared with me throughout the last four decades, I feel as if I can proudly say, ‘Mission Accomplished.’”