Cliff House has a voice many McAlester residents recognize.
He was a football broadcaster for the Buffaloes and can be heard during home games at Hook Eales Stadium as the public address announcer. House also served as pastor at Lakewood Christian Church, from where he recently stepped down after more than 38 years.
"It was time to pass the baton," House said. "We actually did that. We passed a baton on Sunday, and we passed it around to everybody in the congregation. They passed it back to me and I gave it back to the new minister (Paul Vanderveer)."
House, 68, grew up in Chelsea and graduated from there in 1969. He played running back in high school and played intramurally at Ozark Christian College. It was there when he started broadcasting college basketball games and had a morning radio show, Coffee with Cliff.
He graduated from Ozark Christian College in 1973 and from Pensacola Christian College in 1988 with a degree in theology.
House took a youth ministry position in Cleveland and did some broadcasting there before he moved to Indianapolis.
However, Oklahoma would soon be calling again for House after a best friend from Cleveland, Paul Crosby, reached out to him to start a new school in McAlester.
House helped establish Valley Mills Christian School in Indianapolis and Crosby said he wanted him to help establish Lakewood Christian Church and school in McAlester. Lakewood Christian Church was established in 1981 and House later became principal, superintendent and superintendent emeritus of the school.
He has been in McAlester ever since.
"I love McAlester," he said. "I think it is a great city. My wife (Ann Marie) and I, we have raised two sons (Caleb and Casey) here, and we just love the atmosphere of McAlester."
House said he likes McAlester because it's not too big and not too small. He's been part of the Rotary Club for 25 years. House has been president of the Rotary Club and of the Boys and Girls Club of McAlester. He was on the Boys and Girl Club board of directors for 15 years and coached baseball and basketball there.
He started going to McAlester football games when he first arrived in 1981. House started off as a youth minister at Lakewood and said McAlester football players went to his church, so he wanted to support them.
House thinks he began broadcasting for McAlester football in 1982. He started off doing color commentary for about five years before moving to play-by-play for around 10 years.
He bought season tickets and watched every game after he stepped down from being a local television broadcaster. Some of his favorite players through the years have include Chris Green, Don Smitherman, Kevin Brown and Caden Pratt.
He was asked to take over the public address announcing job for McAlester football following the retirement of Bob Thornton. House was a substitute for Thornton during football and basketball season for McAlester.
"He has said that if I need to miss a game, he's willing to come back and be my substitute," House said with a laugh.
Being involved with the team is what he loves the most about his current role with the Buffs. House wants to keep things exciting for the attendees of Hook Eales Stadium, even if McAlester is behind.
Since he stepped down as the pastor from Lakewood, House is working in the health insurance industry at the One Life America office on Carl Albert Parkway. He's also serving as a financial planner for other ministers — what he calls, "Ministry to Ministers."
"I love to work," House said. "I love to help people, and so, by starting this Ministry to Ministers, I think I can make a difference for the Kingdom of God by helping ministers get their finances set up correctly."
Contact Corey Stolzenbach at email@example.com