Andy Burcham paused. He took a deep breath.
His next words would weigh — spoken from the mouth of the new voice of the Auburn Tigers.
“I’m ready for this job,” he said. It sounded like a promise. It came from his heart.
Burcham was named Auburn University athletics’ new lead broadcaster on Monday, just before his familiar voice was re-introduced to the airwaves at a press conference in the athletics complex.
Burcham has been a part of Auburn radio broadcasts for the past 31 years, and will now serve as the lead play-by-play announcer for Auburn football, men’s basketball and baseball.
He replaces his dear friend, Rod Bramblett, who passed away with his wife Paula, on May 25 in a fatal car wreck that shook Auburn.
“Auburn means a great deal to me,” Burcham said behind the podium. “And I understand that this job is not just the voice of Auburn football, men’s basketball and baseball: It’s a voice for Auburn.
“It’s something that I’ve never taken for granted in 31 years, and it’s something that I will not take for granted in the future.”
Burcham worked alongside Bramblett for 25 years broadcasting Auburn baseball, and he had been the lead play-by-play announcer for Auburn women’s basketball since 1988.
Burcham’s eagerness and appreciation carried apparent as he spoke, as did the love for his friend and predecessor. Bramblett, in turn, took over the position in 2003 after the sudden death of former lead broadcaster Jim Fyffe.
“I’m ready to take the reins from Rod and Jim — and Paul Ellen and Gary Sanders and Buddy Rutledge and the folks in front and behind those,” he said, after that deep breath.
“I’m very, very excited about this. I’m excited to work with this broadcast team.”
Burcham and Bramblett were as close as family. The Burchams have welcomed into their family the Bramblett children who lost both their parents on that tragic night two and a half months ago.
With a little more than two weeks to go before Auburn’s first football game on Aug. 31, though, the university needed to name its next lead broadcaster.
The position wasn’t just handed to Burcham, Auburn athletics director seemed to say in thanking Burcham for his graciousness and understanding through the process that led to Monday’s announcement.
But he’s the best man for the job. It’s something he’s been working toward his entire life.
“I was overwhelmed at the time the job was offered,” Burcham said, remembering that in his high school year book, the goal under his senior picture said, ‘To be the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals.’ Now he is a lead voice, for Auburn athletics — in the city that’s become his home for more than 30 years.
“It’s something that I’ve worked for since I was 6 years old. And that’s really true,” he said. “To be at this point in my career and get this opportunity, I’m humbled by it.”
The Brambletts’ daughter, Shelby Bramblett, attended the press conference and hugged Burcham after.
“It is with great humbleness and happiness that I take this job as the Voice of the Auburn Tigers,” he said. “It is the worst possible way to do it, though. Rod Bramblett and Paula Bramblett were special friends of Jan and mine. They are missed to this very day, and that will never change.
“The support of the Auburn Family following their passing in May was remarkable and humbling, and I thank you for that.”
Burcham will call Auburn football with Stan White and Auburn men’s basketball with Sonny Smith. He will call Auburn baseball with Auburn broadcaster Brad Law, and those two will host the regular Tiger Talk show together. Brit Bowen will take over broadcasting duties for Auburn women’s basketball and softball.