Joe Deyo holds a signed ball presented to him along with his family at midfield. 

Joe Deyo’s daughter will be graduating this spring, so he decided this would be a good time to retire as Independence’s public address announcer.

He’s seen some of the Eagles’ biggest moments in football and basketball the past eight seasons.

“I really have enjoyed every minute of it,” Deyo said. “I kind of consider it my opportunity to just give back to the community so I’m a volunteer like lots of parents are.”

All three of Deyo and his wife’s kids attended Independence.

The Eagles went 15-0 en route to the Class 5A football title during Deyo’s second season in 2015.

They were almost as good at 14-1 with a state runner-up finish the following season.

“Football is always fun, but it’s really fun when you’re winning and they were winning by wide margins,” Deyo said.

Independence’s average margin of victory was 31.3 in 2015. Its closest game was at 28-20 win over Hillsboro in a quarterfinal playoff game.

The Eagles won 29 straight games before falling to Farragut 45-35 in the 2016 state championship at Tennessee Tech.

Deyo enjoyed the Border Battle rivalry with Summit.

“Last year in the fall of 2020 it was the first game of the season,” Deyo said. “Independence ended up losing in that case, but I think there were over 70 points scored. It was just a really fun, high-scoring game to call.”

One of his favorite boys basketball memories was a 56-47 Class AAA sectional win over Mt. Juliet that earned Independence its first appearance in the state tournament in 2017.

“It was a great game, just back and forth the whole way, decided in the last 60 seconds,” Deyo said. “They finally broke through and that was a huge game and so fun.”

Deyo will finish this basketball season before retiring.

He also did some announcing at Columbia Academy, where his oldest son, Carson, finished his basketball career.

The Bulldogs beat Summertown in an overtime Class A sectional game, putting them in the state tournament in 2018.

“Packed gymnasium, it was a blast,” Deyo said. “Those two jump out to me. I could keep going if you want, but I’ll stop there.”

One of Deyo’s signature calls is his “Here come your Eagles” announcement when Independence takes the field in football or runs onto the court in basketball at the start of the game.

Deyo was one of six finalists for the Titans’ PA announcer opening in April when Mike Donegan retired after two decades at the end of the 2020 season.

“That was just a huge honor and a fun time,” Deyo said. “It was fun to have an outside organization also recognize they liked what they heard.”

A field of over 200 applied and the first cut was to 21 semifinalists.

Former Washington offensive lineman Matt Rogers, who played in the 2001 Rose Bowl, won the audition for the job. He is a former American Idol finalist and is a Turner Sports college football broadcaster.

All the Deyo children will be in college next year, so Joe would like some free time to visit them with his wife, Jodie.

His daughter, Anna-Wynn, is an Independence cheerleader. Deyo’s youngest son, Gray, played basketball and was a two-time Independence Most Valuable Player in tennis.

Deyo, 56, works as an employee benefits consultant for Zander Insurance in Nashville. He grew up in northern Idaho.

The Deyos have lived in Spring Hill for 21 years.

“When we moved here, there were 7,000 people,” Deyo said of Spring Hill, which has grown to about 50,000.

Deyo said the football and basketball players are the cake and he just tries to “add a little frosting” without distracting from what they’re doing.

“I always say people have a lot of struggles in life, everyone does outside the gymnasium and football stadium, and if they can come in there for a few hours and just forget those, I’m happy to help with that,” Deyo said. “So that’s probably what I enjoy the most.”

He hopes to fill in for local colleges and high schools in the future.

“I think it’s time for me to let somebody else be blessed with volunteering there and have as much fun and joy giving this as I have,” Deyo said. “It’s good to change things up. I think a fresh voice and outlook on the game will be good for them.”

Deyo was celebrated during Independence's Oct. 24 home game at midfield with a signed ball.