That’s the kind of retirement Jim Hawthorne is enjoying after his legendary play-by-play career in the LSU broadcast booth.
After more than three decades serving as “The Voice of the Tigers,” the 74-year-old now relishes retirement’s relaxation.
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I did for so many years, and now I really do enjoy having time to spend with my kids, my grandkids and my great-grandkids,” Hawthorne says.
Retirement doesn’t mean Hawthorne has fully relinquished his spot behind the mic, though.
He’s rekindled his love of country music, hosting a weekly country music radio show on 100.7 FM called, “This is Country” on Sunday nights. He also sings monthly in “Grand Country Junction,” a live country show in Satsuma, Louisiana.
And, of course, the man who provided the soundtrack for LSU sports to generations still enjoys rooting for the Tigers.
These days, though, Hawthorne is watching the games on high-def television, where football is a much more laid-back affair than it was from his old vantage point in the broadcast booth above the field.
“I enjoy very much being able to watch everything that’s going on instead of just following the game, which is what you have to do when you’re doing play-by-play,” Hawthorne says. “You can’t watch the routes, the runners or what’s going on with the defense as the play is developing.”
Aside from a few special occasions where he has accepted an award or participated in the pregame and halftime program, he has not attended any live LSU sporting events.
Hawthorne says he is unsure he could enjoy a game as a casual fan if he tried to watch the Tigers in Death Valley.
“I’m not saying that I won’t or that I never will, but at this point, I don’t have a real urge to go back,” he says.
Retirement hasn’t been all smooth sailing, though. During the devastating August 2016 floods, friends and family thought Hawthorne was missing, as he was unable to communicate with anyone.
Hawthorne and his wife were eventually rescued at their flooded Baton Rouge home by the Cajun Navy.
“It was very humbling to know that there was that much concern, but we actually were fine,” he explains.
The Hawthornes took on 18 inches of water in their home but were able to rebound faster than many of their neighbors, returning home six weeks after the flooding.
Barring that experience, Hawthorne seems content in retirement, adamant in his stance that he does not get the itch to return to play-by-play announcing.
“I had so many thrills,” he says, “that I’m content to enjoy the memories.”
This article was originally published in the Tiger Pride section of the August 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.
Click here to browse the rest of the special LSU section.