New ‘voice’ of MDI Trojans is old friend

BAR HARBOR — Lenny DeMuro was sitting at home one day when he learned his local high school football team had a position to fill. And he decided to lend a hand – and his voice.

After 13 years, Mount Desert Island’s play-by-play announcer, Norm Fineman, stepped down at the end of last season. Replacing Fineman, the man called “the voice of the Trojans” by MDI Athletic Director Bunky Dow, was going to be a rather large task. But DeMuro felt he was the man for the job.

DeMuro, who had served as the play-by-play announcer in the 1980s, picked up the phone and called Dow right away. From the start, he wasted no time.

“I remember asking him, ‘How do I apply for the job?’” DeMuro said. “He laughed and told me, ‘You just did. Consider it yours.’”

Now, after spending 29 seasons away from the microphone at MDI football games, DeMuro is set to reclaim his spot in the booth on Friday nights throughout the fall. With the new season right around the corner, the 72-year-old sports fanatic is ready to be the sound of MDI football.

“I’ve always wanted to come back to the booth, because I love football and the Trojans,” DeMuro said. “When I heard they needed to replace Norm, I wanted to take a shot at it right away.”

Years after playing high school football at the old Bar Harbor High School and college football at Bowdoin College, DeMuro began doing play-by-play for MDI football games in 1980. He would continue to detail every play over the microphone until 1988, when he decided to take a position as an assistant coach with the team.

DeMuro stopped coaching football in 1991 and stepped down as the MDI YMCA swim coach 10 years later. Looking to stay active in the MDI sports community, he was ready to return when the team needed another announcer after the 2003 season. Unfortunately, a stroke prevented him from doing so.

“I was all ready to get back there, but that stopped me,” he said, “Instead of doing that, I found myself in a wheelchair at the hospital.”

DeMuro, though, bounced back quickly. Alongside his son, Tony, DeMuro served as an assistant coach during the varsity swim team’s 2004 state title run. He was voted into the Maine Swimming Hall of Fame the following year.

Of course, everyone knows about DeMuro and his lasting legacy as the architect of MDI’s dominant YMCA and varsity swim teams. Whether coaching swimming, football or basketball, he created a generation of athletes that became drawn to, as MDI YMCA swimmer Jeff Walls once put it, his “magnetic” voice.

“I guess I have the right tone for it,” DeMuro said. “Sports have always been a big part of my life, and when I’m talking about sports, I get passionate.”

A man with a knack for sports tactics and strategies, DeMuro sees everything when he’s around the field, the court or the pool. In addition to being observant of every detail, his skills as a storyteller – he’s full of enthralling tales ranging from Italian cooking to the history of the Maine logging industry – make him the perfect fit for the booth.

“I love telling stories,” DeMuro said. “That’s why I love announcing. Even when it’s just play-by-play, you’re telling the story as it unfolds.”

Above all else, DeMuro is the type of person who wants everyone else to experience life the way he does. He wants to extend that to the booth, and he already knows what a game-winning MDI touchdown will sound like.

“Touchdown! Touchdown, MDI Trojans!” his voice will sound. That call over the public address system will bring fans to their feet, just as it did three decades ago.

If the Trojans can repeat their success from last year, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make that call this year. His first opportunity to do so will be at the Trojans’ Aug. 21 preseason opener against Hampden Academy.

For DeMuro, that can’t come soon enough.

“I’m not coaching anymore, but I still want to get as close to the action as I can,” he said. “This time, they’ll have to pry me away.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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