Over the last several days, we have been celebrating the life of one of the really good guys in local sport, Terry Sisisky. Sisisky passed away last week at the age of 58, leaving a tremendous void across the local airwaves. I feel blessed to have gotten to know the T-man during the last year as we covered several of the same high school games. I found him to be the same guy so many of you know: The man who just loved people and treated all of us like we really were important. While setting up shop in preparation for covering a Thomas Dale or Matoaca game, Sisisky treated me as if I were a lead writer for Sports Illustrated instead of the raw rookie from the local weekly. He didn’t think anything about his kindness toward me. He was just being the T-man!
Sisisky spent much of his adult life as the voice of his alma mater, Petersburg High School. I’m convinced that this was his love, even as he gained his fame as the voice of Virginia Commonwealth basketball. Over his career, he took the Rams from their infancy all the way to their NCAA tournament victory over Duke. No one could have enjoyed it any more. Sisisky didn’t possess the smooth eloquence of a Dick Enberg, nor did he have the inside knowledge of a Billy Packer, but it was his unbridled enthusiasm that set him apart from his peers. He never tried to hide his rooting interest.
By 1990, Sisisky was firmly entrenched as the man behind the microphone at VCU, but it didn’t prevent him from continuing to give area high school or BIB players their due. When the T-man was in the house, you were going to be on the center stage as an athlete. He was always “on,” whether describing a base hit by a 12-year-old, or a fine play by a substitute in a game that had long ago gotten out of hand.
Anyone who ever heard a game announced by Sisisky probably won’t forget it. For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing or working with Sisisky, we were blessed by that infectious smile. In losing one of the true good guys in local sports, our Friday nights have certainly lost some luster.