A Wantagh native who had a legendary career as a college basketball public address announcer at Hofstra University and Madison Square Garden was honored this past Saturday three months after announcing his retirement.
Ken Weprin, a 1964 Wantagh High School graduate, was presented a plaque during Saturday’s Hofstra men’s basketball game against Southern Methodist University. Weprin, who in September moved from his East Meadow home to begin a new life in Las Vegas, announced Hofstra men’s and women’s basketball home games going back to the 1989-90 season. He also served as the public address announcer for college basketball games at Madison Square Garden including the Big East Tournament for the past two decades.
“When I retired I didn’t realize how many people appreciated me for so long,’ said Weprin prior to Saturday’s Hofstra game at the Mack Sports Complex.
Weprin got his start with sports announcing when he served as the public address announcer for Wantagh High School football and basketball games when he was a student.
“I wasn’t a great athlete but I love sports and wanted to be a part of it,” said Weprin, who was also editor of the yearbook at Wantagh High School.
After graduating from Wantagh, Weprin attended Adelphi University in nearby Garden City and broadcasted basketball and club football games for the school’s radio station. Weprin later covered the New York Yankees for Long Island radio station WALK and served as host of the pregame and postgame shows. He later held director of public relations positions with three professional soccer teams including the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League in addition to working 32 years with the Town of Hempstead from which he retired in 2001.
Weprin began his 23-year run as the arena voice for Hofstra basketball in late 1989 when games were played in the university’s Physical Fitness Center and on Jan. 2, 2000 was at the microphone for the opening of the Mack Sports Complex (then called Hofstra Arena). Soon after beginning his relationship with Hofstra, Weprin became the public address announcer for the many college basketball games held at Madison Square Garden each year including the Big East Tournament. He was also chief of the stat crew for New York Knick games and served as back-up public address announcer for the NBA franchise.
The new public address announcer for Hofstra basketball games, Siddique Farooqi, said Weprin was a huge help in preparing him for the job. Farooqi said when he filled in as a public address announcer for a game at Madison Square Garden last year, Weprin sat by his side to show him the ropes.
“He didn’t have to do that,” said Farooqi of how Weprin went out of his way to help. “He has been a huge help to me.”
Weprin, who will be returning to New York in March to once again serve as public address announcer for the Big East Tournament, said he is enjoying his new home in Las Vegas but that Hofstra will always have a special place in his heart.
“I spent 23 years here and not too many people can say that,” he said. “Hofstra is very special to me.”