Football announcer reflects on the life of mentor, friend - DatelineCarolina

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Football announcer reflects on the life of mentor, friend

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From one 'Voice' to another

By Lake Morris
Edited by Gwen Weiler

Todd Ellis said Bob Fulton taught him the secret to calling football games for radio was to get to the essentials.

"Get the basics out, get into a rhythm," Ellis said. "He taught me to always remember that I was painting a scene for those who couldn't see the game."

He said Fulton reminded him to develop his own style and to add some color.

"He told me to have fun when I was broadcasting. If I was having fun, but stayed focused on what I was doing, it would make a good broadcast," Ellis said.

Less than two months since former wide receiver Kenny McKinley died, Gamecock nation is saying another tearful goodbye, this time to Bob Fulton, "The Voice of the Gamecocks." Fulton died Wednesday in his Lexington home. He was 89.

Fulton was the play-by-play announcer for University of South Carolina athletics from 1952-1995. Known for his baritone voice and quick wit, Fulton would take fans from their living rooms to the game.

Ellis, a former USC quarterback from 1986-1989 who also had experience doing sideline reporting, said he and Fulton were friends, but when it came to the training, Fulton was very candid.

"His job was to develop me. He knew the difference in play-by-play and sideline work," he said.

Now a lawyer in Irmo, Ellis was trained by Fulton by using tape recordings of old games on the TV, and Ellis would sit and call the games into a recorder to be played back later.

Ellis said he would sit in front of a TV tray with his notes and a microphone, and would call the game, and after each quarter, the two would talk about what Ellis did well and what he needed work on.

"He would say, ‘That was good, but why don't you try this,' and what he said would sound amazing," he said.

And though Ellis is mourning the loss with the rest of Gamecock fans, he smiles thinking of the many stories he has to remember Fulton. He said there are so many, it is hard to think of just one.

"He was incredibly quick-witted and could talk about multiple issues. From what was going on in the world to USC history and athletics," Ellis said. "He was a true gentlemen."

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