Inside the Ropes

August 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Tom Hannifan

This story appears in the September/October 2016 issue of The Penn Stater, the official publication of the Penn State Alumni Association. Not a member? Click here to join.

Though he and his friends used to imitate pro wrestlers, today Tom Hannifan ’11 Com is content just watching from ringside. Hannifan works for World Wrestling Entertainment, calling the action under the name Tom Phillips and serving as lead announcer for the company’s developmental branch, NXT. “It’s not like [traditional play-by-play]—we’re telling stories,” says Hannifan. “We’re trying to get you connected with the characters on the screen.”

Hannifan knew he wanted to get into broadcasting, so he joined ComRadio at Penn State, where he covered a variety of college and high school sports and hosted radio shows for four years—even while attending Penn State Altoona as a freshman and sophomore. After graduating, he made ends meet by calling basketball games for Division III Juniata College and bussing tables, until 2012, when he auditioned as an announcer for WWE.

Today, Hannifan is based in Orlando, Fla., where his work includes training new announcers. As for wrestling? Hannifan insists he’s happy just to call the action:
“I would probably break and burst into a million pieces if I ever got into the ring.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

Entry filed under: Athletics, From the Magazine. Tags: , , .

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