The 2022 Duke’s Mayo Bowl was a pretty light-hearted and festive affair, featuring a guy in the crowd chugging mayonnaise, ESPN announcers pigging out on deviled eggs, and Maryland head coach Mike Locksley getting doused in mayo after his Terps defeated NC State. However, things took a dark turn in the Wolfpack radio booth with a reference to “illegal aliens in El Paso” that led to the immediate suspension of NC State play-by-play announcer Gary Hahn.
The moment in question came when Hahn was doing a run-of-the-mill score update from other bowl games. But when it came to sharing an update on the Sun Bowl, he injected a bit of commentary right out of Fox News.
“One other bowl game involving an ACC team going on, that’s the Sun Bowl,” said Hahn. “And amongst all the illegal aliens down in El Paso, it’s UCLA 14 and Pittsburgh 6.”
AUDIO: Here’s the clip that got NC State play-by-play announcer Gary Hahn suspended indefinitely.
— Keenan Willard (@KeenanWRAL) December 30, 2022
Hahn’s reference was presumably in regard to a recent surge of migrants who crossed the Rio Grande, which caused overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities and nongovernmental shelters in El Paso.
“The people crossing come from all parts of the world to escape economic devastation and extreme crime,” says an El Paso government website offering a much more compassionate view of the situation.
Some listeners immediately took to social media to voice their outrage over Hahn’s flippant comments and it seems as though the school was made well aware.
While giving the score for the Sun Bowl, @PackRadio play-by-play guy Gary Hahn inserts an “Amongst all the illegal aliens in El Paso …”
Excuse me, @PackAthletics, that is completely unacceptable. @BooCorrigan, I do hope something is done.
— Lee (@lee_montgomery) December 30, 2022
Hahn is an employee of Learfield Communications, which owns the rights to NC State broadcasts. The company announced that Hahn had been suspended indefinitely very quickly after the completion of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
“Learfield has suspended Wolfpack Sports Network play-by-play announcer Gary Hahn from his agreement indefinitely following comments made during today’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl radio broadcast,” Wolfpack Sports Properties general manager Kyle Winchester said in a statement that was relayed by the school to the News & Observer.
Hahn was named North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year in both 2011 and 2020 and has been the voice of NC State football and men’s basketball since 1991.