CU Boulder is remembering Curator Emeritus C. F. Alan Cass, a decades-long member of the campus community who made extraordinary contributions and was known for his dedication, involvement, dynamic personality and humility.
Cass died on April 18 at the age of 77.
Cass’ career roles involved everything from student affairs to stewardship of an important archive to sports announcing.
He joined the CU staff in 1959 as a sound and lighting technician and stagehand at Macky Auditorium. In 1965, he was named stage manager, and in 1967, director of Macky Auditorium (following in the footsteps of his father Claude Cass, who was the Macky Auditorium director in the 1950s and 60s).
Cass then served as assistant director of the campus’s University Memorial Center from 1970 to 1979. Around 1969, he, in his own words, “took on a project to better define the understanding of an important alumnus for our young students.”
That alumnus was the late great Glenn Miller, a world-famous big band icon and bandleader. That project, started as a display case, evolved into the Glenn Miller Archive at CU Boulder, one of the foremost resources of its kind, considered a national treasure.
Cass was inspired to preserve the Glenn Miller legacy not only because Miller was an alumnus, but also because Miller was a relative by marriage. Cass was related to Miller’s wife.
“Alan was a remarkable gentleman who had a profound impact on all who knew and loved him,” said colleague Dennis Spragg, who worked closely with Cass on the Glenn Miller Archive. “It is impossible to adequately honor his lifelong devotion to the University of Colorado Boulder and his beloved Glenn Miller Archive.”
Cass’ work on campus also spanned a major event hub, Athletics and being the voice of campus.
He was named director of the Coors Events/Conference Center in 1984, and was given the additional position of assistant athletic director in 1996.
He became a beloved announcer for CU football and basketball games for nearly 30 years. He also announced women’s basketball games and track meets.
“He was old school, it wasn’t about him, he delivered to the fans what they needed to know and did it with perfect enunciation,” said CU Sports Information Director David Plati. “What became popular were his momentary delays in saying a name, such as ‘O... C... Oliver’ or ‘J... J... Flannigan.’ And of course, when he took over the PA chores for the Broncos, his call of, ‘in... com... plete.’ The fans would chant along with him.”
Cass also was an announcer for the Broncos’ home football games.
“Alan Cass served as the Broncos public-address announcer for two decades, and that’s a long time in the NFL. In my opinion, he was the best public-address announcer in the state of Colorado and in the league,” said Jim Saccomano, former Broncos vice president of communications. “His voice, his style, his vocal mannerisms made him transcendent of the event. He would never say or believe he was bigger than the event; that was not his style.
“He retired a few years ago, but I was asked today if his voice would be recognizable by Broncos fans now," said Saccomano. "I can honestly say they would say, ‘Hey, I remember that!’ if they heard ‘in... com... plete!’ Alan was simply great, and a great representative of the University of Colorado as well.”
Cass retired from CU Boulder in 1998 after a 38-year history on campus, though he remained involved after his retirement.
He was preceded in death by his son, Christopher Cass, and is survived by his wife Sue Cass and son Casey Cass, a longtime CU Boulder photographer.
A pending service will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Cass’ name may be made to the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Foundation.
To send a written tribute to Cass for possible posting on the Glenn Miller Archive website, email firstname.lastname@example.org.