CRESTVIEW — Bob Lynn has left the stadium.
After 55 years of announcing Crestview High School home football games, Lynn clambered down from the press box for the final Friday night.
But before retirement, Principal Bob Jones surprised Lynn with a plaque recognizing his more than half-century of dedication to the Bulldogs.
Additionally, the school band dedicated its last seasonal performance of the school fight song to Lynn and his statistician, Larry Stevens, who retired after 33 years.
"Bob has done a wonderful job, and we've been thrilled to have him here," Jones said. "He's been an institution at Crestview High School and we'll miss hearing him."
Lynn arrived at Crestview High in 1958 as an assistant football coach, and was promptly dispatched to the press box to call plays. Back then, the team played on the old Richbourg School field.
"The press box, as it were, was a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of plywood on two used telephone poles," Lynn said. "When the wind would blow, the poles would move."
The sound system was a bullhorn powered by an extension cord run up to the platform, which had no railings, Lynn said. None of that mattered to him.
"I enjoyed having the best seat in the house," Lynn said.
"I've seen some mighty good teams over these years," Lynn said. And he's watched some exceptional athletes in their formative years. He was announcing a Crestview game against Escambia High School when Emmett Smith played. Smith, now a college and pro football hall of famer, holds the career rushing record in the NFL, running more yards than any player in the league.
"He was the best running back I ever saw," Lynn said. "When you gave him the ball, it was an instant 6 points on the scoreboard. He was awesome."
Lynn's 55 years in the press box were voluntary, Jones said, adding that no successor has stepped forward to volunteer their time as game day announcer.
Lynn continues as sports information director of the Okaloosa and Walton Counties All-Sports Association, and as president of the local Military Appreciation Recognition Celebration committee.
But fans of Crestview High football haven't seen the last of Bob Lynn in Jack Foster Stadium.
"I will always be a Bulldog," Lynn said."I just won't have to climb up and down the stadium steps. That has gotten to be a little bit of a chore."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.