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Chris Ackels ready to live his ‘dream’ as PA announcer at Notre Dame Stadium

For Ackels to hear his voice inside the cathedral of college football, it’s unbelievable.
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 8:02 PM EDT
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CHICAGO (WNDU) - Notre Dame football fans have heard Mike Collins’ “Here come the Irish” call on the PA system at Notre Dame Stadium for 39 years.

But this year, a new voice will be heard inside Rock’s House.

“It is a dream come true in more ways than one,” Chris Ackels said.

Chicago White Sox on-field host Chris Ackels has the task to fill the big shoes of Collins, and the day after Ackels got the job back in July, he called Collins and learned even more about the position.

“I got some great advice of things I would have never known coming in and really I felt like made a good friend,” Ackels said. “We’ve been in touch ever since then and I hope to keep in touch with him.”

And just like Collins, Ackels plans to take the job very seriously.

“Number one, you’ve got to get the information right,” Ackels said. “You want to provide the fans with accurate and timely information. Obligation number two is to be a part of that crowd and community as much as possible.”

Ackels says the crowd and community at Notre Dame Stadium is unlike any other.

“When you talk about historic stadiums and stadiums that send chills up your spine, in college football, that’s Notre Dame Stadium,” Ackels said. “That’s the place to be.”

For Ackels to hear his voice inside the cathedral of college football, it’s unbelievable.

“The echo is real,” Ackels said. “That first experience of you hear the echo, and then you wait a second, and you hear that echo off Touchdown Jesus, then you hear it echo off the other campus buildings. That first sentence out of my mouth, and I stopped and I am hearing and I go, ‘Oh, this is cool.’”

And as cool as it is for the 30-year-old Ackels, it might be even cooler for Ackels the 10-year-old.

“Announcing has been my childhood dream ever since I was a kid. I used to lay in bed at night and I had created a fake radio station in my brain. KWAT 1102 AM, which is even an impossible radio station to even happen. My little brother had to do sports reports on the hour. It was comical. We would literally get yelled at. We needed to go to bed. My entire life, I’ve wanted to do this, wanted to be a sports announcer.”

Now Ackels gets to be a sports announcer at Notre Dame Stadium, and live his dream.

“My brother was in tears when it got announced,” Ackels said. “He was the one who would lay in the twin bed next to me when I was 10, and he was 8, and he gets to watch the dream come true. For me, sometimes you forget to step back and zoom out and think, ‘Oh my gosh, I am really blessed.’ I have amazing people around me. I get to do this amazing thing and I get to call it work.”

Ackels came to a few Notre Dame games in the early 2010s to watch his high school buddy, former Irish kicker Nick Tausch. Now, Ackels will be there every Saturday in the fall. He’ll be in the booth for the first time on September 11, when Toledo comes to town.

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