Next time you’re sitting in the bleachers at a Redlands East Valley basketball game — boys or girls — watch for Kirk Escher.
Or at a Citrus Valley volleyball match.
Wrestling in high school, college basketball.
If you don’t spot him, you’ll at least hear him.
He’s got the voice. Escher’s the man at the microphone — not to mention working the scoreboard — during handfuls and handfuls of prep games, including a frosh and JV game, or two.
“It’s a pleasure,” he’ll tell folks when the games are wrapped up and they’re starting to sweep the floors.
Escher, 65, is a teacher’s assistant at Orangewood High School, the Redlands Unified School District continuation school. He’s also the campus athletic director. If a basketball or volleyball game breaks out somewhere in Redlands, chances are that he’s sitting directly in front of a microphone.
“From November through January,” Escher estimated, “I probably do 100 games.”
It’s a staggering amount considering his total workload.
That workload could include games at either Redlands or Redlands East Valley. He’s been spotted at Citrus Valley games, volleyball included, plus wrestling.
At Dodge Field, he has been heard calling football games for Redlands High School. His wife, Marilu, works the scoreboard while he’s voicing the game over the P.A. system.
REV football, he’ll work the scoreboard.
His start? When Rhonda Fouch, REV’s athletic director asked him to pitch in about 10 years back, Escher seized the moment and went for broke.
Escher has connected with Fouch, the girls’ A.D., and boys’ A.D. Robert Thompkins, not to mention Citrus Valley A.D. Boyd Lium and Redlands’ Michael Pfeiffer.
When he showed up at San Bernardino Kiwanis Tournament a few years back over at Arroyo Valley High, “a guy that knew me” asked if I’d do their games.
“On the last day of the tournament,” he says, “there are five or six games. That’s very taxing.”
He’s been the voice at the Kiwanis ever since.
Yes, he gets paid. That Kiwanis connection, incidentally, got Escher connected with Arroyo Valley’s boys and girls’ teams. Lady Hawks’ coach Michael Anderson invited him to show up to work San Bernardino Valley women’s games. For awhile, Anderson was the Lady Wolverines’ assistant coach.
“But he called me to say not to come over. Their (head coach) was being investigated for cutting a couple of players from the team. So I didn’t do it.” That wasn’t the end of his collegiate connection.
Sports Information Director/Assistant Athletic Director Rachel Roche, he said, “invited me to run the scoreboard for the University of Redlands football games this year. I think I’ll do it.”
Roche probably figured he can handle those duties after surfacing during the Bulldogs’ men’s and women’s hoops seasons.
The 20-year Air Force veteran, an Iowa original, graduated from Cal State San Bernardino in 2003. “A late bloomer,” he said.
There are four Escher children, three of which were athletes. After the oldest, Marissa (1996 Redlands High grad), Stacy (1997 Redlands) played basketball and ran track; Matt was a basketball player in REV’s first graduating class (1999); and Natalie (2010) ran track at REV not to mention playing on some of the Lady Wildcats’ top soccer sides.
Think about the number of gymnasiums he’ll walk into.
Speaking of tournaments, like the Kiwanis, he’s also worked the Dolores Dudek at Arroyo Valley, plus the REV Invitational — both girls’ hoops tourneys.
That Arroyo Valley/REV basketball regular season conflict is easily remedied.
It’s simple: Arroyo Valley plays a Wednesday-Friday configuration during league play. REV is on a Tuesday-Thursday scheduling.
“Arroyo Valley fans are rowdies,” he said. “Their parents really get into it, so involved in those games. It’s a different story over in Redlands.”
He’d shifted over to Citrus Valley a few years back when REV couldn’t pay him — volleyball and basketball.
He said that Citrus Valley’s boys’ and girls’ volleyball coach, Tina Raddish, pulled him into voice and scoreboard duties on the Blackhawks’ court.
“I did Yucaipa Little League a couple years back.”
Wrestling, he said, was “intimidating. I’m still not sure how to score points for the matches.”
Redlands High boys’ basketball assistant Coy Glass will have a little fun, prompting Escher to play with the introductions at Terrier games.
“He’ll be able to announce (head coach) Ted Berry … and Theodore Berry.”
Escher’s a familiar site for basketball referees who walk in the door, hoping that it’s an adult — not an inexperienced student — working the scoreboard and its all-important clock.
“I know every ref,” says Escher. “When they walk in and see me, they’re happy that an adult is running the clock.”
Announcing and running the scoreboard?
“People can’t believe I can do both,” he said.
“Sometimes, I’m a little slow getting the score up there. I’m also in charge of the possession arrow.”
He has full possession of the microphone.