RICHMOND, Va. -- Jon Laaser, the inaugural voice of the Richmond Flying Squirrels is headed to Blacksburg to become the new voice of the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Minnesota native replaces longtime Hokies voice Bill Roth who left earlier this year to take the same job at UCLA. Laaser has some impressive shoes to fill as Roth was a 13-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year and was recently elected to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
"To say I am exceptionally excited to become the voice of the Hokies would be a gross understatement," Laaser said. "However, leaving a team that I had the great fortune to help build will certainly be bittersweet. The Diamond has been my home for the last six years, and the Squirrels and Giants have been my family. It has been an honor to be their voice, and I am heartened that my great friend Jay Burnham will be the one carrying on our proud broadcast tradition. In baseball, we don’t say goodbye, we say so long for now. And with Hokie Nation so present in Richmond, that is definitely true for me."
In addition to his role with the Squirrels, Laaser has also called VCU basketball games for television and worked other games for various regional networks including MASN, Comcast Mid-Atlantic, and SNY. Laaser is credited with the creation of the Flying Squirrels television show "Flying Squirrels Insider."
Laaser’s Minor League Baseball experience includes stops with the Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A - Tampa Bay Rays), Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Advanced-A - Atlanta Braves), Altoona Curve (Double-A - Pittsburgh Pirates), Yakima Bears (A - Arizona Diamondbacks), St. Paul Saints (Independent) and St. Cloud River Bats (Summer Collegiate). Laaser's broadcasting resume also includes the role of lead announcer for Charleston Southern University football and men's basketball, the Minnesota State High School Football/Basketball Championships and Hamline (MN) University football. His broadcasting career began in sports talk radio, with Clear Channel's KFAN in his native Minneapolis.
"This is a great day not only for Laas and Virginia tech but for the Squirrels as well,” Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. "Jon is an example of how hard work and dedication beyond the norm is exhibited daily in the Flying Squirrels organization and while we will miss him professionally as well as personally, he is an example to others of the progression that can be made in your career and life. We are very proud of him and look forward to Jay carrying the flag in his own inspired way. We are fortunate to have Jay here to further what Laas has started."
Laaser will continue with his role with the Flying Squirrels through the Eastern League All-Star break coming next month before transitioning fully to Virginia Tech.
"Jon Laaser is the right man for Virginia Tech," Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. "IMG presented us with a highly-skilled pool of prospects for this position. We were impressed, but not surprised by the volume of national interest in our play-by-play job. We are confident that Hokie Nation will embrace Jon’s passion and enthusiasm for Virginia Tech Athletics."
"Jon brings a complete package to the booth at Virginia Tech – a big-league voice, conversational delivery and great attention to detail," Chris Ferris, VP of Broadcasting for IMG, said. "The Voice of the Hokies is also an important representative in the community, and Jon’s natural charisma, strong work ethic, and willingness to go the extra mile will be a strong asset to the team at IMG and Virginia Tech."
Laaser will be heard on more than 30 Virginia Tech IMG Radio Network affiliate stations from Washington, DC to Bristol, Tenn., beginning this fall as he joins longtime analyst Mike Burnop in the booth for Virginia Tech football. His first game assignment will be the 2015 season opener against defending national champion Ohio State at Lane Stadium.