David Hughes: John Montgomery's dedication earns him Hall of Fame induction

Apr. 17—Speaking for myself, I've never had a problem interacting with Wabash Valley television and radio folks when I've run into them at assignments.

I don't consider them rivals at all. We're all just doing our jobs in a slightly different way, trying to inform and entertain the public.

Wait, I did just think of one who is a real jerk.

But it's definitely not 62-year-old John Montgomery, co-owner (with his wife Teresa as part of JTM Broadcasting Corp.) and game announcer for Sullivan radio stations WNDI-FM 95.3 and WNDI-AM 1550.

It's always enjoyable to run into John, usually at a Sullivan High School sporting event, but sometimes at a North Central, Dugger Union or Shakamak game as well. If I happen to be unfamiliar with something about the Golden Arrows, Thunderbirds, Bulldogs or Lakers, I wait until a commercial break and quickly ask John to clarify the situation for me. He does so without hesitation.

On April 7, Montgomery was one of six persons inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association (ISSA) Hall of Fame at its 28th annual awards banquet, this year at Valle Vista Country Club in Greenwood.

The ISSA website praised Montgomery for the following: "John won the organization's Marv Bates Award as Indiana sportscaster of the year in 2008 and it marks the second state in which John has won a similar award, as he was named the broadcaster of the year in Kansas in 1992.

"John has broadcast state finals events for six different schools that WNDI serves in west-central Indiana."

In addition, a Hall of Fame induction celebration party took place at the Sullivan Civic Center last Saturday when Mayor J.D. Wilson declared April 13 as "John Montgomery Day" in the city.

Montgomery, who couldn't be happier in Sullivan after he and Teresa moved there from Kansas in 1994, expressed gratitude for the ISSA Hall of Fame induction.

"It is absolutely the biggest honor I have received in my career," he told me this week. "As Teresa and I celebrate our 30th year in Sullivan as owners of WNDI, this award we will cherish forever. I want to make sure to thank Sullivan High School for their amazing support all these years, from the administration, to coaches, to players and to our amazing fans. I owe them so much. It has been such a wonderful friendship for all of these years."

Montgomery wasn't done handing out appreciation messages.

"I also want to thank the other schools we cover like North Central, Dugger Union and Linton for all of their great support," he added. "And Shakamak Laker Nation has been so supportive of our coverage of the school and they have taken me to Victory Field [for the IHSAA baseball state finals] eight times through the years. I truly appreciate them as well.

"I also want to thank my friends at Saint Mary of the Woods College. It has been such a blast being the voice of the Pomeroys [sprint] football program these past two seasons and I look forward to many more. I also want to say a big 'thank you' to our engineer, Kevin Berlen, for all of his invaluable work over these past 30 years for WNDI Radio.

"Teresa and I have had such a wonderful time living in Sullivan and in Indiana. We could not have picked a better place to live."

Former Sullivan football coach Blaine Powell is now the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sprint-football coach, so he's been interviewed by Montgomery at two different levels ... and he's always enjoyed talking game details with him, regardless of the circumstances.

"I don't know where to begin with my admiration for John and what he has done for local sports in our community," Powell said. "He has always been such a fixture in our community that I hope people don't take for granted how lucky we have been and are to have him.

"John has had so many legendary radio calls in his career that will always be remembered. It amazes me that he is always so genuinely happy doing the call of every game he gets to do. I have always looked forward to the pregame and postgame interviews with him as well because he does such a great job of asking the right questions to give the listeners and fans a little bit of a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for the game or why a team won or lost and a deeper look into the players.

"I feel blessed that I have been able to work with John at Sullivan High School and now at SMWC."

You might recognize one or more of the other ISSA Hall of Fame inductees from April 7 — John Bansch (deceased), Indianapolis Star; Russ Brown, Louisville Courier-Journal; Steve Herman, Associated Press; Jack Nolan, WNDU in South Bend/Notre Dame Athletics; and Mark Jaynes, IndyCar Radio Network.

Jaynes worked two different stints at WTHI Radio from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s and from 1994 to 2001. He joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network as a pit reporter in 1996, then he became "Radio Voice of the 500" (aka, chief announcer) for the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.

Jaynes has held that prestigious title ever since.

Tribune-Star sports reporter David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at (812) 231-4224 (just text him on his cell instead); by email at; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.