During the first home football game in the fall of 1979, Cody Vance sat next to Dan Kunzman in the press box. After the first quarter ended, Kunzman stood up, looked at Vance and said, “It’s yours.”
Vance has been announcing at Doane football games ever since.
His passion radiates amongst Doane athletics. He is at every Doane home athletic event and even travels to watch the teams on the road as often as he can.
Some even consider him Doane’s biggest fan and “the voice of Doane Athletics.”
“I really became a Doane fan as a student,” Vance said.
Vance came to Doane College as a student in 1978, after graduating from Bladen High School in Bladen.
While at Doane, Vance studied media communications, which was a student-generated major for him. This major involved him working in the media center with the television station, audio and video checkout for campus and announcing at some athletic events. As a student, he also worked in the dish room in the cafeteria and night watch for Doane safety.
During his senior year at Doane he saw openings for admissions counselors but decided to go home after graduation. By the time he realized this would be something he was interested in doing, the positions were filled.
The following September in 1982 Vance got a call from Kunzman asking if he was interested in the position since one of the new hires did not work out.
He served as an admissions counselor for 19 years, then went to work in the advancement office and then found his home in the Doane athletics office.
Vance serves as the public address announcer for football, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball.
His position goes further than just announcing at games.
He also coordinates the NAIA Champions of Character initiative at Doane, the Doane Athletic Hall of Fame, concession stands and oversees the Haddix Fitness Center as well as sells advertisement spots for the athletic department.
Athletic director Matt Franzen came to Doane as a student when Vance was an admissions counselor. Now, as colleagues, Franzen says Vance plays a large part in Doane athletics.
“He holds things in the athletic office together,” Franzen said.
Not only does he announce for athletic events, he also does public addresses for the community including the Memorial Day service. He used to MC the Doane Homecoming coronation, but two years ago decided to “pass the torch” since he became so busy with athletics.
Vance can have long days, working early games and late games all in one day, plus organizing and even stocking the concession stands.
“It’s worth it because I make a difference in lives,” Vance said.
Vance takes pride in getting to know students and athletes. His office is on the top level of Haddix in the Athletic Office area. There is a steady stream of students who pass through that office and Vance said he enjoys when students stop and say ‘hello’ to him.
Senior football and track and field athlete Levi Sudbeck met Vance during his freshman year. He has developed a strong friendship with Vance over the past years here.
“The things that he does for Doane makes Cody one of a kind,” Sudbeck said.
Senior football player Kyle Jensen has also developed a strong friendship with Vance.
After coming back to Doane from being hospitalized due to sickness, Jensen remembers the welcome Vance gave him as he stood on the sideline at the game.
“Can we get a big round of applause for Kyle Jensen, returning to the Doane sideline today?” Jensen recalled.
Out of the 42 years Vance has been announcing for Doane athletics, he has volunteered to for 31 of them, with the past 11 being the only ones he got paid for.
“I love the Doane Tigers,” Vance said.
Vance’s passion and excitement for Doane athletics, especially football, shows in his lifestyle as well.
On Doane football home game days, with kickoff at 1 p.m., Vance is up at the crack of dawn and ready for the game. As he has gotten older, the excitement hasn’t dwindled and neither has his sense of humor.
“Saturdays on home games I used to get up at 5 a.m.,” Vance said. “Now I get up at 6:30 a.m.”
One of the most comical and memorable ‘Cody stories’ Franzen recalled was when the Doane football team played the Dana College Vikings.
After a play, Vance announced the tackle by a “shipload” of players.
Franzen also recalled during junior varsity football games, where it was hard to announce play by plays because of lack of roster consistency, Vance would announce the previous Sunday’s NFL scores.
He would not announce them in the traditional way, instead, he would just say the scores.
“Cody would announce ‘This past Sunday’s NFL scores are as follows - 28-21, 38-20, 7-48,’ without announcing the teams” Franzen said.
Vance has always loved history and it shows by his vast Doane knowledge and ability to recall people’s faces and information about them.
“If someone comes into the office and I feel like I should know them, but am unsure, I go to Cody. He would know them,” Franzen said.
Head football coach Chris Bessler was recruited by Vance in 1990 to come to Doane and remembers how personal he made recruitment. That hasn’t changed as he changes positions at Doane.
“Cody has an innate ability to remember names. He remembers everybody - a true gift,” Bessler said. “He remembers recruits from 40 years ago, all of their family members and probably where their siblings went to school, even if it wasn’t Doane.”
Even after announcing for 42 years, Vance still gets nervous before games.
“If I am not nervous about it, it is probably time to stop,” Vance said.
He writes all of his scripts and gets to know as many of the athletes as he can each year.
“I am passionate about the home team, but I am positive for everyone,” Vance said.
Not only does Vance start conversations with visiting team fans, he also adds in as much welcoming feeling to announcing for the visiting teams.
During one of the last soccer games, Vance announced the hometown of a visiting team member and added in what his hometown’s sister city was known for. That player’s face lit up because not all announcers put interest in the opposing team.
He works diligently to create a welcoming experience for all who attend events.
At the end of every home athletic event, Vance wishes everyone one thing - “travel home safely.”