Linne proving more than a fan for PatriotsOctober 18, 2017
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
From the school’s first sectional title during his second year of high school in 1992 to a state finals appearance in Indianapolis in 2003, Robert Linne has seen his fair share of spectacular Heritage Hills volleyball matches.
In fact, the program’s early success is what Linne believes led him to catch an interest in volleyball in the first place.
“I think their first sectional win might have helped to get me hooked,” Linne said with a laugh.
Linne, 40, has been the official scorekeeper for the Patriot volleyball team since he was a sophomore at Heritage Hills — a duty he became responsible for when his teacher and former Patriot volleyball coach Annie Gunselman had him try it for a few games. And it’s something he’s remained true to for the past 25 years.
Linne doesn’t see himself slowing down anytime soon, and that includes Saturday when he’ll travel with the Patriots (30-4) to Corydon Central for a Class 3A regional semifinal against Sullivan (30-5).
After realizing he got to both work with friends and keep stats for a team he started to watch as soon as he starting attending Heritage Hills, he wanted to expand his role any way he could.
“My junior year I took over as a manager because I liked it so much,” Linne said. “Before I graduated high school, I also started to pick up announcing — I like to get the crowd fired up.”
Linne called a few matches during his senior year of high school, but was soon attending college at the University of Evansville. While Linne still helped with stats whenever the team played against Evansville-area schools or in weekend tournaments, he admits he missed being able to help with the program full-time.
Luckily for Linne, he landed a job at Communication Logistics Incorporated in Ferdinand, which meant one thing — more time to help his alma mater.
“I was glad that I knew I’d have evenings free and I’d be able to help out with the team,” Linne said. “Fall is always really busy for me, but I love it.”
Senior team member Kasey Schaeffer said Linne is always telling stories and finding ways to make events more fun — such as the annual sectional dinners the team hosts.
According to the player, Linne always brings his karaoke machine to those dinners. And while usually it’s just the girls who sing along with the music, at the most recent dinner, Schaeffer recalled Linne rocking the house with his rendition of the song “If I Had A Million Dollars” by Barenaked Ladies.
“None of us knew the words, but we all pitched in and sang with him, or we tried to,” Schaeffer said. “He is just an all-around great person, and he knows how to have fun with the team.”
In addition to keeping track of volleyball scores, Linne also is the public address announcer for every home Heritage Hills volleyball match. He will do the same for the Patriot boys and girls basketball programs starting this fall.
Linne said he enjoys being able to provide the fans in Lincoln City an enjoyable atmosphere and a positive attitude for all teams — though he admits he does show a little favoritism to one of them.
“I always try to be upbeat about everyone, but I am a little bit of a homer for Heritage Hills,” Linne said with a laugh. “I may announce my team a little louder than I should sometimes.”
Linne said he likes to promote inclusivity, on both sides, when announcing a volleyball match.
“I don’t like that some teams will just announce the starters and that’s it,” Linne said. “I think it’s kind of sad that certain girls won’t get announced just because they’re not in the starting lineup, even though they play in a team’s rotation. I always try to include everyone when I can.”
Linne said volleyball is his second-favorite sport, as it falls just a little bit behind football.
And if you’re in search of a bigger Heritage Hills football fan than Linne, you’re out of luck.
“Since I can remember, I’ve only missed three Patriot football games,” Linne said. “Two of them were due to wedding rehearsals and one was just because I was very, very sick.”
Usually, volleyball and football contests don’t fall on the same days, so Linne rarely has to worry about choosing one over the other. But he can remember one particular situation in which things got a bit interesting.
“When the volleyball team made it to the state finals in Indy in 2003, the team got me my own hotel room so I could travel with them,” Linne said. “But the Friday night before just happened to be football sectional against Evansville Memorial at Evansville. So I remember going to the football game and then driving directly up to Indianapolis and arriving around 1 a.m. the night before the game. Somehow, I made it all happen.”
Linne also recalls shaving his head for the Patriots’ 3A football state championship run in 2000, and while he’s not sure he’ll do anything as crazy as that for this weekend’s volleyball regional, he said he’s excited about the Pats’ chances to continue a trek toward the state finals in Muncie.
“This is a fantastic, really smart team — maybe one of the smartest teams I’ve seen us have,” Linne said. “It’s almost like they do adjustments themselves and see stuff before it even happens. As a whole, this is a very good Patriots team.”
What he’s seen
Robert Linne has served as the Heritage Hills volleyball scorekeeper since his sophomore year of high school in 1992. A look at the postseason success the Patriots have had with Linne on their sideline:
Sectional wins — 1992, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2010, 2017
Regional wins — 1996, 2003
State finals appearance — 2003
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