Chanhassen Sports Announcer’s Side Gig: Mayor

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you watch a Chanhassen high school football game, what you hear is the voice of the hardest-working retired man in Minnesota.

When Denny Laufenburger left his long career in computer sales and marketing in 2010, he devoted himself to a new passion. He’s been the public address announcer at the Chanhassen football games since 2011.

“What I consider my role as a public address announcer is to engage in a conversation with the audience,” he said.

It’s skill that comes in handy with the other thing Laufenburger is known for in Chanhassen — he was elected mayor in 2014.

“The most important thing is encouraging, motivating, inspiring and coaxing the citizens of this community to engage in the community,” he said. “When they do that, we are a better community.”

It’s kind of what he felt like he was already doing with the PA job. So when he was elected mayor, he just kept doing it.

Like any PA announcer worth his cough button, Laufenburger has a process.

“It takes me about three hours to prepare for any game that I do,” he said.

He reaches out to both coaches to make sure he’s got every name correct — even the backups.

“I also have a little board that I put together. It has the roster of both players. I highlight the names that are most likely to be called, and I highlight those in different colors — green for offense, yellow for defense,” he said. “I have to be prepared to say their name as clearly as I can, because those parents are proudly waiting for their son’s name — or their daughter’s name — to be called.”

If there’s one common thread that runs through both jobs, it’s community involvement.

“The great reward is seeing other people enjoy an activity for which I’m involved,” he said.

Laufenburger also does amateur, legion, and state high school baseball as well as Crown College football and Chanhassen girls basketball.

“My wife says, by the way, that I’m doing a terrible job of retirement,” he said.

Laufenburger says he does about 80 to 90 athletic contests every year.

More from David McCoy
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