Voice of the Cyclones passes away
HARLAN — Former KNOD sportscaster Ron Novotny passed away at his home in Harlan Saturday, May 7. Service arrangements are pending at Pauley Jones Funeral Home.
“I was always interested in radio and broadcasting sports,” he said in an interview last December.
“I got the teams backward on the kick-off,” he said, recalling the first football game he covered at KWAY (formerly KWVY) in Waverly, where he began a career that spanned 52 years.
He soon found his calling and moved to Harlan’s KNOD in 1985, a place he would call home for the next 36 years as the voice of the Cyclones, KNOD and Shelby County.
With his inimitable voice, unmistakable broadcast style and unique catch phrases, “Rockin’ Ron” soon became a favorite of listeners, players and coaches throughout southwest Iowa. Novotny covered over 17 school districts during his decades on-air before his retirement last year.
The award-winning radio personality’s last game was a Cyclone basketball doubleheader against Clarinda on December 21, 2021. Novotny was honored by HCHS Girls Head Basketball Coach Zach Klaassen and HCHS Boys Head Basketball Coach Mitch Osborn. Osborn called him “An ambassador for HCHS sports”, saying “Ron was the very best at his craft.”
KNOD Manager Pam Stessman says, “Ron Novotny was a legend and will be greatly missed! Even after he retired, we received numerous calls, emails and comments from listeners saying how much they missed his sports broadcasts. He had a way of broadcasting that made you feel like you were at the game! And of course, no one will forget his many catchphrases… ‘the cows are out of the barn’, ‘tickle the twine’, ‘bodies on the deck’. He was quite a guy and we at KNOD will miss his wit, his opinions on a variety of matters, and, of course, his voice.”
Former Harlan Newspaper Sports Editor Mike Oeffner calls Novotny “A legend, a mentor, and a friend.”
“There is only one Ron Novotny. In an era of cookie-cutter announcers who all tend to have the same approach, Ron was one of a kind,” Oeffner says. “He brought an original style and sound to the airwaves and was not afraid - for better or worse - to tell it like it was. On our various journeys across the state together, Ron taught me so much about the history and tradition of athletics in southwest Iowa and beyond, and some of his ‘stories’ were beyond legendary. Ron was a pillar in the community and will be greatly missed.”
“I’ve met so many great people, not only in Harlan, but all over,” Novotny said when he retired. “ It’s been very fulfilling. Thanks to all the people who’ve listened and commented on the games.”
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