Lou Gellermann, a University of Washington rowing legend who later served for many years as a popular public address announcer at Huskies football and basketball games, died Friday, according to an announcement Sunday by the school. Gellerman was 79.
Gellermann was a member of Washington’s 1958 eight-oared crew that scored an historic upset of the Leningrad (USSR) Trud Club in Moscow in the first American sporting event broadcast to the U.S. from behind the Iron Curtain.
The 1958 crew, coached by Al Ulbrickson, lost to Trud during the Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames, but subsequently traveled to Moscow on a U.S. State Department sponsorship and scored the upset of Trud, which made international news. The 1958 crew was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1984.
A Seattle native who attended Roosevelt High School, Gellermann rowed for four years at Washington and earned a degree in communications in 1958. He was a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic rowing team as an alternate in the coxed four.
Following graduation, Gellermann coached at the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1965, his freshman eight won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta. He returned to Seattle in 1968 and coached Husky freshman for three seasons under his former teammate, head coach Dick Erickson, also a member of the 1958 crew.
In 1968, Gellerman began serving as the UW football press box announcer before taking over as public address announcer in 1986. He held that position (he also worked men’s basketball games for many seasons) before retiring in 2007.
At the start of each football and basketball game, Gellermann began with the iconic “Hello Dawg Fans,” to which the fans always responded, “Hello Lou!”
Gellermann is survived by three sisters (Margaret Hays, Joan Nykreim, NancyLou Patterson), son Kurt, daughter Casey McSweyn (Matt) and grandchildren Grady and Hattie.