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Steve Klauke, longtime Utah sports radio voice, dies suddenly at 69

Longtime Weber State, Salt Lake Bees announcer killed in crash

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Jun 11, 2024

Photo supplied, Weber State Athletics

Steve Klauke poses for a photo during a Weber State men's basketball game in 2022 at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

Steve Klauke, the voice of Utah summers and a storyteller to all who knew him, died Tuesday morning after being struck by a car Monday night. He was 69 years old.

Klauke was the 29-year radio voice of Salt Lake Bees baseball, retiring after the 2023 season, and just completed his ninth season as the play-by-play radio announcer for Weber State football and men's basketball. He called numerous games on TV and radio for a variety of sports over 34 years in the state of Utah.

A report Monday night from KSL.com says a man, not then identified as Klauke, was walking at the intersection of 10600 South and 1300 East in Sandy around 8:20 p.m. Sandy police say a car hit him while turning right.

Weber State Athletic Director Tim Crompton, echoing a feeling shared by those who mingled with Klauke in Utah's sports circles, said, "I'm speechless."

"Weber State and Utah have lost one of the greatest sports broadcasters and one of the best individuals I've ever known," Crompton said in a news release. "Our hearts go out to his family. We were truly fortunate to have known Steve. This is a tragic loss."

Photo supplied, Weber State Athletics

Steve Klauke, right, interviews former Weber State football head coach Jay Hill before a game Aug. 31, 2019, at San Diego State.

Klauke was known for his puns, sometimes spinning long stories just to set one up, and for his food reviews from his travels across the country.

Gail Miller -- co-founder of the Larry H. Miller Company, which owns the Bees and formerly the Utah Jazz -- called him "a world-class broadcaster."

"Steve will forever be remembered as 'the voice of the Bees' and holds a special place in our hearts," Miller said in a press release. "We will always treasure and honor the immeasurable impact he had on the sports community in Utah and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sue, and their children, Adam and Lisa."

Nearly a one-man institution of Utah sports media, Klauke was key in the early days of the state's sports radio scene. A native of Chicago and ardent fan of the Bears and White Sox, Klauke moved to Salt Lake City in 1991. He hosted a daily sports talk show on KISN AM while working as the pregame/halftime/postgame show host for Utah Jazz broadcasts.

In addition to his work with the Bees and Weber State, Klauke called games for the Jazz, Utah Grizzlies hockey, Utah Flash basketball and for televised high school games, while also completing fill-in stints for the University of Utah, BYU, the Los Angeles Angels and the Toronto Blue Jays.

"Over the last several years, Steve had become a very good friend," Weber State men's basketball coach Eric Duft said in a news release. "His talent for calling games and professionalism in all situations made him a top-tier broadcaster. More than that, however, Steve was an incredibly good person. He will be missed. Weber State Basketball lost a family member and we will be praying for his family during this difficult time."

When Salt Lake drew Triple-A baseball back to the Beehive State with the then-Buzz in 1994, Klauke became the club's full-time radio voice, calling 4,181 regular-season games over 29 seasons.

His signature home run call -- "It's up there, it's out there, it's gone!" -- and his victory call -- "Handshakes and high-fives all around" -- filled Utah's radio waves in four different decades.

"Steve was one of the best voices in sports and he was a dear friend," said Marc Amicone, former Bees president. "I will cherish the countless hours we spent together at the ballpark where I got to watch and listen to him do what he loved so much."

Holly Rowe, longtime ESPN reporter who got her start in Utah and is now on the Jazz TV broadcast team, said Tuesday's news is "devastating."

"Dear, dear man and friend," Rowe posted to X, the social media site. "He mentored me for many years. Was always giving, kind, passionate about his work. A true legend and wonderful person. Just sad beyond belief."

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