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David Herbert Wills (born March 13, 1964) is an American sportscaster who, along with his broadcast partner Andy Freed, has served as the radio voice of the Tampa Bay Rays since 2005. Wills and Freed alternate play by play and color commentator duties during Rays game broadcasts, usually trading roles every three innings. Wills has signed several contract extensions with the Tampa Bay Rays Radio Network and signed another "multi-year" deal after the 2017 season.[1]

Wills was born and raised in the Chicago area and grew up as a "die-hard" White Sox fan. He played baseball and basketball at Oak Lawn Community High School, where he also wrote for the school newspaper.[2] He attended Elmhurst College, where he pitched on the baseball team and worked for the school's newspaper until graduating with degrees in speech communications and urban studies in 1988. While in college, he also worked for SportsPhone, a call-in service that provided one minute of sports scores and updates for the Chicago area.[3] After graduation, Wills served as the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator for the Elmhurst College baseball team in 1989 and as the interim head baseball coach at the University of Chicago in 1990.

Wills began his on-air broadcasting career covering sports for radio stations WMAQ and WMVP in the Chicago media market. His first play-by-play position was with the Class-A Kane County Cougars, for whom he was the radio voice from 1991 to 1995. From 1997 to 2004, Wills served as the pre-game and post-game analyst and back-up for John Rooney on the Chicago White Sox radio broadcasts. During the same period, he also co-hosted a daily sports talk radio show, hosted a local cable television sports show, hosted the pre- and post-game radio broadcasts for Notre Dame football and basketball, and did radio play-by-play for University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) basketball. Wills and Andy Freed were hired as the new broadcast team by the Rays before the 2005 season, replacing the club's original radio team of Paul Olden and Charlie Slowes.[4]

In 2016, Wills was inducted into the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Topkin, Marc (1 December 2017). "With Dave Wills signed to another multi-year pact, Tampa Bay Rays will keep radio team together". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  2. ^ "EC alum, Dave Wills, looking forward to ninth season behind Tampa Bay microphone". The Leader. March 3, 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (Nov 17, 2017). "40 years ago, Sports Phone broke new ground for fans". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  4. ^ MAFFEZZOLI, DENNIS (Feb 11, 2005). "D-Rays' games will air on WSRQ". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ Milani, Jerry (18 July 2018). "Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Honorees". NY Sports Day. Retrieved 1 March 2019.

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