5 Questions for Jonathan Bragwell
By Russell Frye
Photo by Jim Meadows
Jonathan Bragwell has been a valuable part of Hartselle athletics for the past 21 years as a public address announcer for the football and basketball programs. He will retire at the end of this season.
What has it meant to you to be the announcer for Hartselle football and basketball? Jonathan says it has been a great honor to serve as the public address announcer for Hartselle football and basketball. “The good people of Hartselle love their kids and love their sports. Being a part of recognizing the kids on the field and on the court was a wonderful blessing for me,” he adds. “I am thankful for the opportunity that was afforded to me to serve as The Voice of The Hartselle Tigers at J.P. Cain Stadium for 21 seasons and at the Pettey Center then the new Hartselle High Gym for 16 seasons. I will cherish this time always and count it a great blessing.”
What is your favorite memory of football? In basketball?
Jonathan says his favorite football memory as the public address announcer was in 2011. “Hartselle had just defeated Briarwood Christian in the semi-finals of the 5A playoffs to secure a trip to Tuscaloosa for the state championship. I remember distinctly making the announcement. “Hartselle Tiger Fans, we are going to the ‘ship!” The roar from our fans was fantastic to hear as I went on to give the details of the game the following week at Bryant Denny Stadium. Of course, everyone remembers the Tigers defeating Vigor the following week for Hartselle’s only state championship up to this point. My favorite basketball memories are all the intense games when the gym is so loud that my announcements can’t be heard and both student sections are playfully taunting each other with various chants. The three Morgan County tournaments that Hartselle hosted during my time were very memorable as they had great atmospheres.”
How did you get into announcing?
“In 2002, I was teaching at F.E. Burleson Elementary. A friend of mine, Russell Moore, asked me to join him on the radio broadcast for Hartselle High basketball. Russell did the play-by-play and I did the color commentary and read commercials,” Jonathan says. “Out of the corner of my eye at one basketball game at the Pettey Center, I noticed Hartselle Superintendent Lee Hartsell and Hartselle High Principal Jerry Reeves looking in my direction and talking. After the game, Dr. Lee Hartsell approached me to see if I was interested in being the public address announcer at J.P. Cain Stadium the next football season because Coach John Cochran was stepping down from that role. I started in the 2002 season and added basketball in the 2007-08 season.”
Who are a few of your favorite players?
“I have way too many “favorite” players to mention specifically by name because I taught so many of them when they were either at F.E. Burleson Elementary or Hartselle Intermediate School,” Jonathan says. “These students of mine went on to become talented and successful athletes at Hartselle High School.”
How have the games and atmospheres changed since you started?
Jonathan says the sound system at J.P. Cain Stadium has gone through a few upgrades since he started. “The pre-game music, the recent jumbotron and coordinating all the pre-game recognition ceremonies are also among the many upgrades to the Friday Night Lights atmosphere of J.P. Cain, which he added he considers one of the best atmospheres in the state.