“I never believed when I was a kid that I could do something like this.”
Anyone who has attended a White House High School football game in the past seven years has come into contact with Kris Freeman.
Freeman’s voice booms over the speakers at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium. He also runs the school’s athletic social media pages and blog at WhiteHouseBDP.com. At any Blue Devil event, he can be seen talking to parents and athletes, or giving his student photographers tips on the sidelines.
Freeman’s resume represents a variety of passions and talents. He began working with White House in 1994 as a beat writer for a local newspaper. He always wanted to be around sports, and that job kept his passion alive.
Freeman grew up a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, listening to an all-time legend in the sports broadcasting industry.
“I listened to Jack Buck on KMOX — that was the AM super station that carried the (St. Louis) Cardinals,” Freeman said. “When I was growing up, I’d pick that up at night, and I would mimic what I heard Jack Buck do. It was always something that I wanted to do.”
Freeman got his start in play-by-play announcing before being asked to fill in as a public address announcer for the high school.
He then decided to plant Revolution Church in White House. He served as the pastor there for 10 years.
After he began regularly announcing for the Blue Devils, Vanderbilt University needed a public address announcer for their basketball games inside of Memorial Gym.
Freeman, encouraged by those around him, applied and auditioned. He got the job and has worked there since 2015.
In 2019, as the Vanderbilt basketball public address announcer and a full-time minister, Freeman got the opportunity to work as a full-time teacher at White House High School, where his children currently attend. He is currently the sports information director and teaches communications.
For a year, Freeman did all three, but the workload was piling up.
“Almost every single public address announcer is a professional in something else because PA announcing is not a full-time job,” Freeman said. “Ninety-nine percent of the jobs are people who do it on the side. Announcing wasn’t the problem, but trying to work two full-time jobs was.”
Freeman had already planned on stepping down after 10 years at Revolution Church, so last fall, he did so on the 10th anniversary.
“Teaching provided me a way to, not only work with my kids at White House and get paid for it to do something I love, it also gave me benefits I never had before,” Freeman said. “Ultimately, those two things were the biggest primary factors.
“I love ministry. I was in it for 23 years as a pastor, and I still feel like I can be in ministry wherever I’m at because my character and my opportunities don’t change to influence people just because I don’t have a title anymore.”
Freeman was unsure when an opportunity for a professional announcing job would come. He thought if Nashville got a Major League Baseball team, that may be the next real chance to take a crack at a professional job.
Last year, long-time Tennessee Titans public address announcer Mike “Duke” Donegan announced he was retiring, leaving a professional sports team job open right in the heart of Nashville.
When Freeman’s family and friends found out about the vacancy, they clamored once again for him to apply.
Of course, he obliged.
“It’s really inspiring to have people that love you say, ‘Go for it,’” Freeman said. “It’s really hard because my ambition is really high, and sometimes that gets me in trouble. I go for things when my schedule is overloaded. I look back and say I don’t know if I can take this much.
“This opportunity is really unique because we’re talking about gamedays, and most of the gamedays are on Sundays. If this had happened a year ago, I couldn’t have done it. I would have just had to say, ‘I’m a pastor of a church, and that’s really cool, but I can’t.’”
Freeman is now one of 20 semi-finalists for the job. The Titans will narrow the field down to five before letting the fans get involved in a full-blown contest.
Freeman is grateful for the amount of love and encouragement he has received throughout the process.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody because I couldn’t do this without people who stood behind me, and I can’t imagine trying to do this alone without people’s support,” Freeman said. “That means a whole lot to me. Whether they’re my students or my family, or people in the community or people that I’ve worked with professionally, to have everybody’s support like that is pretty special.”
The audition process has been long, but it may prove worthwhile. After all, adding “Tennessee Titans Public Address Announcer” to his resume would be a dream come true.