Jake Lebahn: the middleman between Washburn sports and fans

Washburn announcer Jake Lebahn with his children, Lawson and Brynn. Jake and his two children were in the broadcast booth at Yager Stadium.

courtesy of Jake Lebahn

Washburn announcer Jake Lebahn with his children, Lawson and Brynn. Jake and his two children were in the broadcast booth at Yager Stadium.

Washburn has, in Jake Lebahn’s voice, the pride and experience of the one who considers this university his home.

“Once, in a pre-game interaction, someone asked who Jake Lebahn preferred, KU or K-State. He replied that he does not really cheer for either university, but for Washburn,” said Kyle Manthe, athletic communications intern.

This brief story illustrates the unique personality of Washburn’s basketball and soccer announcer and the Voice of the Ichabods, Jake Lebahn.

Jake Lebahn, 38, has been the voice of the Ichabods since 2014. He is currently the sports director for Alpha Media USA Group and a host on the talk show Mic’d Up on WIBW-AM 580. He graduated from Washburn University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication/Media Studies. Lebahn did not exactly have a plan of what he would do after graduation, but he wanted to be involved in sports.

“I applied for an internship here at the station (WIBW) when I was a junior in 2006 in the summertime and continued that through a part time position during the football season and during the offseason. I wanted to do something involved in sports because it was such a big part of my life,” Lebahn said.

Being a passionate sports fan at Washburn is part of his DNA. Lebahn was a 6-foot-4 receiver on the football team and his greatest memory from his college days are sports related.

“When we beat Pittsburg State for the first time in like 30 years on the football field at home,” Lebahn said. “And I caught a touchdown in that game. That was the year we won the Conference.”

Having been a student athlete is one of the factors that makes his play-by-play role so unique.

“He has these deep ties and is proud for the team and the school that he went to,” said Joy Smith, assistant athletic communications director. “He really cares about what he does.”

With 16 years in the sports industry, the biggest challenge for Lebahn is time management. He describes a typical week in the basketball season.

“I did my show from noon to one, got in the car, drove three and a half hours. Got to Jeff City, Missouri, called to Washburn basketball games. Then I left Jeff City, got back home at 1:30 in the morning. I got up at eight o’clock and took my kids to daycare and then I went to work. I do my show from noon to three, then I get done with work. I have to prepare for Saturday’s game, but also my sports talk show for the next day.”

The days go fast on the road of sports communication, but the milestones are important to record. The expansion of sports at the station Lebahn works at is one such milestone.

“The big one just happened last year when we expanded sports. Our sports talk show was from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and last year we expanded from noon to 6 p.m. and instead of one show, we have two now.”

Even though Lebahn talks more than three hours a day about different sports and teams, he is a genuine Washburn fan.

“I want Washburn to win more than probably anybody. When I wear Washburn gear like this, it is the only gear that I need to have because I am not a fan of anywhere else,” Lebahn said.

Calling games for his alma mater is about pride and experience, and when Washburn wins, it becomes the most enjoyable moment for Lebahn for being able to tell stories, give information and let people know about Washburn.

“That means the most,” Lebahn said, “I get to be the one to be kind of the middleman between Washburn and the fans.”


Edited by Aja Carter and Glorianna Noland