If you have ever been to a Penn sporting event, you have definitely heard it — the voice that echoes from the announcer’s booth through the corridors of Franklin Field after every single touchdown, the one that bellows from the press row throughout the Palestra after each slam dunk. But do you know the man behind the voice?
For the past 16 and a half years, Rich Kahn has been the voice of the Quakers, announcing play-by-play calls at just about every home game for the Red and Blue.
Nicknamed the “Voice of the Palestra,” Kahn calls Penn Athletic events ranging from basketball and football, which draw larger crowds, to sports with smaller, more niche fan bases such as softball and field hockey.
Before becoming the legendary “Voice of the Palestra,” Kahn spent 13 years as the PA announcer for the New York Islanders, and then spent another 19 years with the New York Jets perfecting his craft . On top of this impressive resume, before joining the Quakers, Kahn was also the arena voice of the NCAA Women’s Final Four in its first two years.
In 2005, Kahn and his family moved to Philadelphia, and following the passing of former Red and Blue announcer John McAdams, Kahn won the job after successful auditions with Penn.
And the rest, so they say, is history.
Needless to say, Khan has become an integral part of the Penn Athletics community and beyond.
“When I walk into somewhere like the Palestra now, it just feels like it is my home,” Kahn said.
In addition to his responsibilities as the PA announcer for the Quakers, Kahn also hosts the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame dinner every year, among a variety of other events.
“I think I have become ingrained into the culture now because I have been around for so long," Kahn said. "I feel like I am a part of the family, and I feel as if I have become a part of the fabric of the place, which is very nice because I did not go to school at Penn."
After nearly two decades with Penn and over 30 years in the industry, Kahn still finds immense excitement and joy in his work every time he steps in the announcer’s booth.
“My favorite part of the job has always been the challenge,” Kahn said. “I think when you are doing live sporting events, there is no second take. So, I’ve always loved the challenge of getting it right the first time.”
However, there is one thing that Kahn could live without — the long, challenging names to pronounce.
For Kahn, his future as the PA announcer for the Quakers at sporting events is three-fold. As long as the “Voice of the Palestra” remains to be not only effective, but also wanted, and as long as he continues to enjoy his work, his unforgettable voice will echo across sporting arenas at Penn.
The Red and Blue certainly hope that there are many more years to come with Rich Kahn in the announcer’s booth.