Ike Rooks, the longtime radio voice of Alabama A&M athletics, died Friday night, the school announced. He was 87.
Rooks broadcast Bulldogs football and basketball for more than 40 years, the last 15 on WJAB 90.9 FM radio in Huntsville. He also hosted WJAB’s “The Locker Room” on the same station after giving up regular play-by-play duties.
“I was always interested in radio and sports, even as a child,” Rooks told the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2005. “It was the legendary coach Adam Kellam who gave me my first big opportunity when he asked me to keep statistics and be the field announcer at the old W. C. Council High School football field.”
Rooks was inducted into the Alabama A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the Special Achievement Award from the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
“It’s not often you have the privilege of working with someone you grew up listening to on the radio,” said Michael Burns, WJAB operations manager and play-by-play announcer for the Bulldogs’ basketball team. “I’ll always be grateful for the time I spent with Ike.
“Those hours spent on the road, the great conversations and the lessons learned from someone who was truly a master.”
Said current A&M football play-by-play man Ted Dixie: “Mr. Rooks was a great storyteller. He could entertain and educate at the same time, in a manner that was exclusive to him.”
Rooks is survived by his wife Nancy Palmer Rooks; his son, Isacc “Sonny” Rooks III; and granddaughter, Hannah Grace Rooks. Funeral arrangements are pending.