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Longtime radio man, Kennel voice Harv Clark dies at 69

Harv Clark is pictured on Christmas Eve 2010 with his grandson, Kenner Clark.
Harv Clark is pictured on Christmas Eve 2010 with his grandson, Kenner Clark.

A longtime Spokane radio announcer who spent nearly two decades as the public address announcer for Gonzaga University men’s and women’s basketball games has died.

Harv Clark died Friday after a long struggle with heart disease, said his wife, Peggy. He was 69.

His 51-year career in radio had ended March 7, when failing health forced his retirement, his wife said. At the time, he was working for Clear Channel in Spokane, coordinating traffic coverage.

“His heart was in radio,” Peggy Clark said.

Chuck Heaton, former program director at KHQ radio who hired Clark, said Spokane broadcasting has lost a real professional.

“I remember Harv as the ultimate radio announcer,” Heaton wrote in an email. “He absolutely loved the profession and excelled in virtually all aspects of it.  News writer, news reporter, news announcer, sports reporting, play-by-play … he did it all, and did it well.”

Clark was born March 13, 1942, in Yakima and got his start in radio as a high school student there. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era, working for Armed Forces Radio from locations across Europe, Peggy Clark said. After his four-year stint, he returned to Yakima and eventually made his way to Spokane, where by the late 1960s he began an 18-year tenure with KHQ radio.

In the mid- to late ’80s, he went to work with Spokane Youth Sports, helping expand the city’s soccer programs for kids. In 1990, he began working as the public address announcer for men’s and women’s basketball games at GU, combining both his passions: sports and radio.

“He was thrilled to be able to do that,” Peggy Clark said.

Gonzaga Sports Information Director Oliver Pierce said Clark was a fixture at GU basketball games. For a while, Clark called both the men’s and women’s games, but he stopped working the women’s games once the McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004.

For years, Pierce said, Clark started each game with his signature call: “Let’s plaaaaay some basketball,” with “play” drawn out for 10 seconds or so.

The university honored Clark during the 2009-’10 season, Pierce said, after poor health forced Clark to retire in 2007.

He had gone back to radio in the mid-’90s, his wife said, and had been with Clear Channel for about 15 years when he retired.

Clark is survived by his wife of 38 years, a daughter, Erin Clark, and a grandson, all of Spokane, and his sister, Vicki Brown, of Lafayette, La. Services were pending Saturday.