By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Stephen Caruso wanted to be close to the action, so he took a seat that is about as far back from it as one can get.
Caruso has been in and around the public announcer's booth at Leo Buckley Stadium for the last 23 years.
He started as a spotter, then began covering Ellison games when the school opened in the late-70s. Then, in 1993, Caruso took over the booth for both Ellison and Killeen, including the schools' long-standing rivalry.
"The perspective is that (the rivalry game is) always exciting and things that you don't expect happen," Caruso said of the Killeen-Ellison rivalry. "It's highly-competitive, it's good for the community, it's good for the schools - the competition and the bragging rights say for city championships. But nonetheless, they're all Killeen ISD."
His tricks in the booth are mainly about paying attention to what's going on, both before and during the game.
Once the game starts, that's when he really gets to work.
Caruso said an announcer has to pay attention to the play and who's making it, both offensively and defensively. But, you've got to be fair.
"You go to some home stadiums and the announcer is strictly for the home team," Caruso said. "I guess of anything that I'm proud of, I try to be balanced and not too excited and not too calm. You want to report what's happening, but you want to do it in a way that's not unsportsmanlike to the other team."
For that, Caruso is missed when he's not in the booth for whatever reason.
"When I'm not here because of illness or something, people will say 'we didn't hear you at the game,'" Caruso said. "When you've been doing this 23 years, people recognize your voice just like any public address announcer or sportscaster or news person.
"It's fun, it's exciting. I used to coach in high school as well as be a principal here at Killeen. I've been in this community."
Caruso added that he's been in education for the last 43 years, serving as principal at Sugar Loaf Elementary School and assistant principal at Killeen High School and Rancier Middle School.
But, he also loves sports. So it only makes sense that he take his seat in the public address booth. While it may be the closest seat to the action, it's one of the better views in the house.
"It kept me close to the athletic scene," Caruso said. "I enjoyed coming to the games, watching the games, assisting the announcer and then, the natural movement, is into the main chair doing the public address announcing."
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562. Follow him on Twitter at KDHsports.