Javaris Harris, one of the youngest public announcers in CSU history

His climb to success


 “Everyone, please stand for the national anthem,” said Javaris Harris, sophomore at Columbus State University, speaking into the mic in the announcer booth. His voice echoed throughout the stadium as fans of CSU’s baseball team moved to stand. It was his first game as a public announcer, and he wanted to bring his best performance up to the plate.

 Harris announced he was offered the Public Announcer position for CSU Baseball on Jan. 30, 2019. Harris was possibly the youngest person to hold this position and had, quite literally, made CSU history.

  Ironically though, Harris didn’t want to be a PA at first.  

  “I literally said ‘no,’” Harris said with a laugh, “absolutely not. I’m a play-by-play broadcaster. I’m not doing it. I’m not built like a PA.”

  Harris had caught the attention of Kory Aldous, the Interim Sports Information Director at CSU, with the recent exposure from his radio show. Aldous invited Harris to his office, and Harris had no idea how his future was about to change forever.

   “We were just talking about how the season was rolling and, out of the blue, he asked, ‘how would you feel about PAing for baseball this year?’” Harris said with a big grin, clearly fond of the memory.

  The first game Harris hosted was a baseball game against West Alabama. It went well for his first time, but he winced over several mistakes he had made.
  “I messed up a little on the national anthem. I was reading a little fast because I was nervous. I was just trying to get it over with.” But he knew he would get better with practice and accepted the offer to PA for the rest of the season.


Where it all began

  Harris grew up in Jonesboro, Georgia, a city about ten miles south from Atlanta. Sports had always been a big part of his life growing up, his passion flourishing under the tutelage of his cousin, Justus. Every time they were together, they were watching some sort of sports game, though college football reigned supreme. Harris, unabashed, said it was his favorite sport.

  Harris, an only child, looked to Justus as a big brother figure. As Harris spoke of his cousin, it was clear the love he held for Justus ran deep. “He was amazing. He basically mentored me and taught me everything. I’m really appreciative of him.”  Harris was also Justus’s biggest fan at his football games, cheering his cousin on as he played on the field.

  Harris’s passion for sports only grew as he got older. At Jonesboro High School, Harris was offered the position of a play-by-play broadcaster for his team’s basketball game during his senior year. He was understandably nervous stepping in front of a crowd of people despite the fact that he was familiar with many of them. He knew a lot of the guys on the team, and they were supportive of his new position. Regardless, he had the infamous pregame jitters.

   Often, Harris asked himself, “Do I truly want to do this?” He would lay awake at night, staring at his ceiling as he imagined all the things that could go wrong behind that mic. He found himself wondering what people would think of him if he messed up. “But I just had to let that go and go with my first instinct.”

  That “you shouldn’t let what people say about you influence the decisions you make in life” was the drive that led him to his first game as a play-by-play broadcaster. It was going to be a thrilling experience. Harris would be in the game, describing plays and calling out great moves and strategies of his friends as they played basketball on the court. His first game was going to be amazing.

  Instead, it flopped.

  “It was completely awful. I got a lot of backlash about it. A lot of the students started telling me how, ‘you suck, you don’t need to be doing this. You’re just up here so you can get into the games for free.’”

  The scathing comments spread like wildfire, and Harris was faced with a decision: to let mere words prevent him from following his dream or to continue on doing what he loved. He chose the latter.

  “Don’t let that get to you. You just keep doing something that you love and enjoy it, and that will be the end of it.” Following this motto, Harris continued to broadcast his school’s games. The practice at his high school games honed his skills, and that experience solidified his place in the sports’ world.


His Climb to Success

 Harris graduated from Jonesboro High School in 2017 and came to CSU to major in public relations, though he quickly switched majors when he realized he did not see a future in that career. Harris switched his major to integrated media and was astounded at the amount of doors that opened up to him when he made the change.

 During his first year at CSU, Harris worked with Steven Williams and Aldous in the Sports Information Department for many of the sports teams at CSU. He learned much under their instruction and, through them, obtained his first opportunity to call his first collegiate softball game.

  “I hated it. I did not want to call softball. I hated the game. It moved slowly. It was just a wreck. Again, I had those pregame jitters. I was speaking too low in the mic; they had to turn it up. And I just didn’t have any knowledge of softball. It was a complete bust.”

  Harris didn’t let this bring him down though, instead examining his performance and using it as a learning experience to improve his skills for future games. His examinations came in handy when he was offered the position as a PA.

  Harris used his past experiences as a play-by-play broadcaster to launch his career as a debuting PA for CSU Baseball. The role fit him well, and he received lots of support from family and friends. Even the baseball players and coaches were excited for Harris when he made his big announcement. They offered their congratulations and welcomed him with open arms into their family.

  Not only did family and friends congratulate him on his big success, but famous PAs reached out to Harris to celebrate his incredible achievement of becoming one of the youngest PAs in history. The former Atlanta Falcons’ PA and the Harlem Globetrotters’ PA sent congratulations, as well, to applaud his achievement.

  “It felt like I was being entered into a society of PAs that welcomed me,” said Harris with awe. “It was pretty big.”

  Harris dreams of working for the SEC Network, a subdivision of ESPN, as a play-by-play broadcaster. He is looking into several internships that will get him the experience he needs to catch ESPN’s eye. The internships he hopes to take part in are of local television stations like WSB and FOX, though he holds a special love for WSB, having toured their station and interacted with staff there.

  In the meantime, Harris will continue to build his resume by being a PA and exploring more of the sports world that he knows and loves.

  “It just all started with a dream when I was in high school. People were telling me to quit, but I was like, ‘no, I can’t quit. This is something that I really want to do.’”