A few things you may not know about the new radio Voice of the Tar Heels:
His proper name is Monrovie Jones Angell, IV. That’s on par with Forest Orion Mixon, III, which is Mick’s official moniker, and a lot more eccentric than just Woody Lombardi Durham (the First).
His dad is Monrovie, the Third, but goes by “Rovie” and is a retired Marine Corps officer who now works for the Marine Federal Credit Union in Jacksonville, N.C. Jones never knew his grandfather, Monrovie, Jr., who died when Jones’ father was a teenager. The original Monrovie? Jones hasn’t a clue and needs someone to build him a family tree.
Jones’ mother is Elizabeth Makepeace Angell, who is a retired public a school teacher. Jones’ wife is Elizabeth Martin Angell, who was a public school teacher and is now a literacy specialist at Glenwood Elementary in Chapel Hill. Jones’ mother did not hand down any “EMA” embroidered towels to her new daughter-in-law.
Young Elizabeth is actually three years older than Jones, lived five blocks away in Jacksonville and attended the same high school, but she wouldn’t give the pimply-faced freshman a second look when she was a pretty senior, Class of 1994.
They both went on to UNC – as had Jones’ parents and his sister Molly – but never hung out together there, either, perhaps because Elizabeth was always studying. Jones says the rumor that he made 1600 on his SATs is untrue and his wife is the brains of the family, having made “one grade under an A all the way through school, and she’s still mad about that B-plus.”
They met formally back in Jacksonville, when Jones was a sophomore at Carolina and Elizabeth had already graduated to a teaching job in Raleigh. It was a holiday Cotillion party when they both had dates with other people, but got seated together at dinner.
“Can I call you when we get back?” Jones asked. “Sure,” Elizabeth said, acknowledging that he was finally old enough to be noticed.
They were married (in Jacksonville, of course) in 2003, and Caroline Angell was born in 2008. Elizabeth is now pretty pregnant with child No. 2.
Monrovie IV grew up loving all kinds of sports (especially the Tar Heels and Redskins) but was never good enough to make any of the Jacksonville teams. So he turned to musical theater, beginning as the Artful Dodger in Oliver in the 5th grade and later acting, singing and dancing (in his admitted order of competence) in big spring high school productions such as Mame, 42nd Street and My Favorite Year.
“I was a better actor than a singer,” he said, “and it helped prepare me to be in front of a crowd.” Beginning this fall, he’ll play to the biggest audience in North Carolina.
Jones’ first play-by-play job was during his student internship with the Tar Heel Sports Network, when engineer John Rose asked him to go to Henderson and call “a minor league baseball game” over WIZS-AM, the station owned by the Rose family.
Jones jumped at the chance but when he arrived found it was more “minors playing baseball.” He did that Little League game with the same enthusiasm he has called the College World Series five times in the last six years. By the way, John Rose is now the engineer for the Duke Radio Network, but that has nothing to do with the surprise he pulled on the young intern.
Jones Angell has since called hundreds of Carolina baseball games, dozens of UNC women’s basketball games and few men’s games when Woody was taking a break or off with the football team. The September 3 opener against James Madison in Kenan Stadium will be the first football game he has ever called from the play-by-play chair. No other candidate in the national search lacked such experience.
“That was definitely a big point of discussion during the interview process, and it’s understandable and a valid question,” said the third banana in the UNC broadcast booth for the past six years. “But I really have prepared as if I was going to do the play by play, so with preparation it won’t be a huge change.”
Jones says he will sit in the radio booth and call every scrimmage during preseason practice and then listen and critique the tapes. Certainly, he won’t sound like Woody, but even Woody had an adjustment period taking over from Bill Currie 40 years ago.
The familiarity with Carolina, which Jones has followed closely his entire life, and keeping the same broadcast teams together for both sports trumped the fact that he will have to grow into certain parts of his new role. He is already an employee of the UNC Athletic Department and will remain as involved in the production of the broadcasts and coaches’ shows as he has been for years. Like Woody, he’ll be paid additionally by Learfield Communications to call the games.
Will he have pet expressions that become legendary, such as “Go where you go and do what you do” or “Go to war Miss Agnes” – two of his predecessor’s favorites.
“The way I am approaching it is let’s get it right, be factual and accurate, and tell the story of the student athletes,” he said. “As time goes on and people get to know me and are more comfortable listening to my style, the other stuff will come. Right now I don’t have anything ready to pull out if, say, Harrison Barnes makes a big 3-pointer.”
What he does have, right out of the shoot, is a one-word name that will become a staple for Carolina fans, like Woody. That’s because it’s a middle name that sounds like a last name that he uses as his first name. “Back to you, Monrovie . . .” just won’t cut it.
Best of luck, Jones. We’ll be listening.