At every Houston High School sports venue where it’s heard, there’s no mistaking the voice resonating from the public address system is that of Houston native Jason Pounds.
“I truly enjoy doing it,” Pounds said. “It’s just so much fun.”
Pounds is a 1992 graduate of HHS and is in his seventh year as a full-time teacher with the Houston School District. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and two master’s degrees – one in history and another in holocaust and genocide studies.
At HHS, Pounds teaches classes in American history and American government, as well as World War II studies and holocaust studies. He also coaches the high school and middle school Scholar Bowl teams, and has hopes the high school squad will improve on its strong showing at last year’s state competition.
“I’d love to come home with a state championship trophy,” he said.
But aside from being a busy instructor and coach, Pounds can be found behind the microphone at HHS football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball games, and even an occasional JV or middle school event. His unique baritone delivery is enhanced by a couple of signature augmentations, including an intermittent growling tone and elongated syllables within a player’s name, both incorporated with strategic timing and artistry.
Pounds said his announcing style developed over the years with a little help from some friends and cohorts.
“I don’t exactly know where it came from or when it happened,” he said. “But a friend once suggested I do something like the old ‘let’s get ready to rumble’ thing. I got a kick out of that, and I knew that once I started, I wasn’t going to be able to stop. Now when I watch ballgames, I’m always listening for what they do with announcing or with music.”
Before he realized he wanted to pursue a teaching career, Pounds spent about 15 years in the restaurant business. He also dabbled in many other jobs, but eventually came to a point where he knew teaching was his calling.
“I was the Schwan’s man, the Culligan man and sold cars for a little bit,” Pounds said. “I tried everything, and that’s when I started realizing I was supposed to teach.”
That calling had followed Pounds for most of his life. As a youngster, he dreamed of doing two things when he grew up: Teaching and being a disc jockey. His dream more or less came true when he started announcing HHS basketball games about eight years ago.
“It took me a long time to get there, but I’ve managed to find them both in one job,” Pounds said. “God has his reasons for putting you in the right place at the right time, and I know now why it took a while.”
Since getting his start in hoops, Pounds has branched out into being the public address voice at pretty much every Tiger sporting event. He is also on the microphone at many HHS assemblies and does the daily morning announcements on the high school and middle school intercom systems. He has also done some announcing at community events, including trivia night gatherings and even a demolition derby.
In his early days of sports announcing, Pounds stuck mostly to the basics, like naming the starting lineups. Now his work is much more detailed, and he enjoys adding some spice to it, like humorous sound effects and ironic song clips.
“It makes it a lot more fun,” Pounds said. “I’m always trying to add more stuff, and I consider it an advantage for the home team. Not that they need anything from me to be successful, but I believe it’s my job to do what I can to get the crowd fired up and keep them involved.”
Pounds has been known to play songs like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” at opportune moments, and one of his funnier use of sound effects is playing the beeping sound made by a truck backing up when an opposing football team is penalized.
“Some people noticed that, and you could tell they thought it was funny,” he said. “I love being able to play something funny at just the right time.”
Pounds likes to announce things done by HHS players with much more volume than things done by the opposition.
“I do that on purpose because it’s funny to me,” he said. “I’ve had an opposing fan notice that and say something, but they usually don’t say anything and I think they understand.”
Now and then, Pounds receives positive feedback from Houston fans.
“I was sick recently and missed a game,” he said, “and someone came up to me and said, ‘boy, we missed you last night.”
As he more or less lives his dream, Pounds does it in almost exactly the way he envisioned it. His classroom at HHS is even the one he hoped for.
“I wanted to teach, I wanted to teach here, I wanted to teach American history, and I wanted to do it in this room,” he said. “I got it all, and I get to be a DJ.”
Pounds said there’s one aspect of being the voice of the Tigers that he never gets tired of.
“Every single win,” he said. “I love being there at that moment when we get a win at home, and I love being able to announce that. I grew up here, I graduated here, and I bleed red and black.”
Pounds said he intends to remain the voice of the Tigers as long as possible.
“The school board and past principals have allowed me to be able to teach specialized classes that are absolutely a labor of love, so I’m very blessed,” he said. “I’m very proud to be from Houston, and I’m flattered to be considered the voice of the Tigers.”