Chuck Swirsky is a household name to nearly every Chicago Bulls fan throughout the midwestern portion of the United States.
Swirsky, who has been the play-by-play radio voice of the squad since 2008, graduated from Interlake High School in Bellevue in 1972. The 61-year-old credits his childhood home for giving him a solid foundation in the world of broadcasting.
“When I was in elementary school and junior high school they allowed me to read the announcements to start the morning on the public address system, which was a big thrill for me,” Swirsky said.
Swirsky’s fascination with the microphone didn’t stop there.
“I owe a lot to Interlake High School because they had a student radio station called KEGR,” he said. “One thing led to the next and before you know it I was doing public address work for Interlake football games, basketball games and I was taking stats. It was great. I never played (sports) because I was horrible, but the athletic director and the coaches would allow me to really expand things. I just took it one step at a time and here I am.”
Periodically, Swirsky as one of Interlake’s most well-known alumni members will return to his roots.
“I was back last year and I caught a Mariners game,” he said. “I get back once every couple of years. I wish the Sonics were still there in Seattle so I could still go home (on a yearly basis). One of my sisters lives in the area and one lives in Portland. Both of my parents are deceased and are buried in Bellevue. I loved Bellevue and I loved Interlake. It was a great environment to grow up in.”
The fond childhood memories in the 1960s and early 1970s of growing up on the Eastside is something Swirsky cherishes even to this day.
“We had some great teams at Interlake. We had a couple of unbeaten football teams. We also had a guy by the name of Larry Anderson who went on to pitch in Major League Baseball for 17 years. We grew up in the same neighborhood,” he said. “I have known Larry for more than 40 years.”
One of the highlights of Swirsky’s career thus far was calling games for the University of Michigan men’s basketball squad in the 1990s. Swirsky had an opportunity to watch the Fab Five up close, consisting of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King.
“It was at the tail-end of the Fab Five era,” he said. “It was a unique period of time in college basketball which we will never see again. Those are memories that have left an indelible mark in my DNA for generations to come.”
Approach and preparation are two of the mantra’s Swirsky lives by as a broadcaster to the masses.
“You take every game as if it were your last. I go into every game with a sense of urgency and purpose,” he said. “That will never deviate, no matter what.”
Swirsky said he plans on continuing his broadcasting career for as long as he possibly can.
“I plan to broadcast until they don’t want me anymore,” he said. “Back in 2007, I had an opportunity to perhaps join the Sonics, but they were one foot out the door heading to Oklahoma City and I couldn’t move my family at the time to Seattle and the next year to Oklahoma City. It wouldn’t had been fair to them. I elected to stay in Toronto (Toronto Raptors radio broadcaster) and the following year the Bulls called and that’s where I am right now.”
Shaun Scott: 425-453-5045; email@example.com