ZHS Press Box dedicated to First and Ryman

The Press Box at Bulldog Stadium will never be the same. The 2021 season is without the “Voice of the Bulldogs,” Greg First and clock operator Kerry Ryman, who humbly presided over home football games for more than 35 years.

Friday night, the Press Box donned their names after the room that overlooked hundreds of Bulldogs’ games was dedicated in their honor.

First and Ryman were joined by family and friends at midfield at Bulldog Stadium before the start of Friday night’s game against Weeki Wachee and were presented plaques honoring their more than 35 years of service and support to Zephyrhills High School and the community.

“It’s bizarre,” said First, a proud ZHS graduate. “It’s very humbling.”

Ryman said the two tried to quietly retire from their positions in the press box, but folks at ZHS had other plans.

“The next thing we know we get a call from (Athletic Director) Bruce Cimorelli and going quietly wasn’t going to happen,” Ryman said. “It is an honor.”

Their responsibilities together in the press box dictated their lives every fall. Vacations, work schedules and time with the family were adjusted so they could spend three hours in the most important room at the stadium.

“On a Friday, we worked our whole schedule for over 35 years around the football schedule,” First said. “The last time I went to a game where I wasn’t announcing was when they played at Krusen Field.”

Ryman added, “This is the first game that I’ve gone to in a long time without my binoculars and all my stuff.”

Cimorelli had their names painted on the front of the Press Box to commemorate their contributions to ZHS. “Those guys had it down,” Cimorelli said. “They meant so much to the program and the school. I took them for granted because they knew what they were doing. They will be missed.”

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