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Getting Personal

Orlando Magic play-by-play announcer David Steele on his childhood sports aspirations, his morning reading material and what it was like being inducted into the Magic’s hall of fame.

1. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player. I played shortstop for a state runner-up team in Georgia as a high school senior, earned a scholarship to play at Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and until my freshman year in college, thought I could play professionally. A .155 batting average made me realize I better find another profession.

2. My first job out of college was sports director at WJHG-TV in Panama City, Florida. My wife and I graduated from the University of Georgia on Friday, June 13, 1975, and I anchored the sports on the 5 p.m. newscast in Panama City on Monday, June 16.

3. My wife, Sally, and I met in high school. It was near the end of our sophomore years at Briarcliff High School in Atlanta, Georgia, and we were 15 years old. We’ll celebrate 45 years of marriage this summer.

4. My favorite thing about being the Orlando Magic’s play-by-play announcer is the athletes. The fact that NBA athletes are the greatest in the world, and on any given night, I might be witnessing an event that people are talking about across the country the next day.

5. I have a dog named Coach. He’s a golden-doodle, which is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle, and a little more than 1 year old. His name holds a double meaning—the designer dog in the athletic family.

6. I like to start each day with reading the Bible. Beyond that, I enjoy reading American history or a good fiction suspense-thriller. Sociology or faith-based inspirational books are on my reading list too.

7. I’m a big Beatles fan. My wife and I have seen Paul McCartney live in concert twice. I really would like to have seen the Beatles with Paul, John, George and Ringo all together.

8. Every summer, my wife and I get together with our three children and their families. We have a total of seven grandchildren. We gather either in East Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains area or in Lake Lure, North Carolina. Very special times.

9. My path to becoming the Magic’s play-by-play announcer began more than 40 years ago. After working as a local TV news sportscaster in Panama City (WJHG-TV) and then Asheville, North Carolina (WLOS-TV), I was hired by the University of Florida in 1982 to handle play-by-play duties for the Gator radio network, and in 1989 was hired by the Orlando Magic as play-by-play announcer on radio. In 1998 I replaced Chip Caray as the Magic’s TV play-by-play announcer and have held that position since.

10. The highlight of my professional career was being inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame. To be recognized by a great organization like the Magic after working there for 30 years was a great honor.

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s May 2019 issue.

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