Gellermann helped UW beat Russian team in rowing, greeted crowd with signature, “Hello, Dawg fans!”

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Lou Gellermann, who rowed into University of Washington history in the USSR during the Cold War era and later become an iconic voice at Husky Stadium, died Friday at age 79.

As UW’s public-address announcer from 1985 until 2007, Gellermann welcomed fans with his signature greeting — “Hello, Dawg fans!” — accompanied by a siren before each football game. Fans would return the greeting with one of their own: “Hello, Lou!”

“I just love Husky athletics, and it will be very, very difficult to say goodbye,” Gellermann told The Seattle Times before his last game as PA announcer in 2007.

Before becoming a PA announcer for UW football and basketball, Gellermann was a member of the Huskies’ 1958 eight-oared crew that traveled to England for the Henley Royal Regatta, where the Huskies lost to the Leningrad Trud Club by a boat length.

Even so, the Russian rowers invited the UW crew to Moscow for a rematch, and in Moscow the Huskies beat the Leningrad Trud crew and three other Russian teams by about 2 lengths on the 2,000-meter Khimkinskoe Reservoir course. The victory made international news and remains one of the most notable achievements in the history of UW rowing.

The 1958 crew was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1984.

A Roosevelt High School graduate, Gellermann rowed for four seasons at Washington and earned a degree in communications in 1958. He was the rowing coach at the U.S. Naval Academy before returning to Seattle in 1968 to coach the UW freshmen for three seasons.

In 1969, his freshman eight finished in an unprecedented dead heat with Penn to share the IRA crown.

He began working in the Husky Stadium press box as the internal announcer in 1968 and replaced Wendell Broyles as the stadium’s PA announcer in 1985.