San Antonio university sports announcer passes away during game, OLLU confirms

Michael Thompson helped create OLLU’s live streaming program in 2009

Michael Thompson, a longtime and beloved member of Our Lady of the Lake University’s Athletics Department, may have suffered a cardiac arrest during a women’s basketball game.

SAN ANTONIO – Michael Thompson, a longtime and beloved member of Our Lady of the Lake University’s Athletics Department, passed away Saturday afternoon.

According to university officials, Thompson may have suffered a cardiac arrest during a women’s basketball game.

Sports announcer for Our Lady of the Lake University, Michael Thompson, passed away Saturday. (DAN CONSTANTIN 2019)

Thompson was known as “The Voice of the Saints” since 2009.

“He called more than 800 games since 2009. Basketball, baseball, softball, he covered them all,” said OLLU spokesman Ken Rodríguez.

According to a Facebook post on the university’s athletics page, Thompson “spearheaded the creation of OLLU’s live streaming program in 2009, making it into a premiere broadcasting system that has been admired throughout the NAIA and beyond.”

Saints athletes, including softball player Ciera Martínez, said they were amazed with Thompson’s talent behind the microphone.

“I find it very amazing how every sport he knows (and) every little detail and thing about every sport,” Martínez said. “He’s an amazing announcer.”

However, his voice never came back on the airwaves after halftime during the women’s basketball game vs LSU Alexandria on Saturday afternoon.

At 3:47 p.m., OLLU Saints Athletics tweeted the remainder of the women’s game would be suspended and the men’s game cancelled due to an accident on campus.

University officials confirmed to KSAT that Thompson allegedly fell down the bleachers.

“They rushed (him) to the hospital, and sadly he’s no longer with us,” Rodríguez said. “We were told by a social worker at the hospital that it was an apparent cardiac event.”

An official cause of death has not been made by the Medical Examiner’s office.

While the Saints gymnasium remains closed, on Monday, athletes, coaches and staff gathered in a somber prayer service to honor Thompson.

“I think today was an expression of love that came from the heart of this university,” Rodríguez said. “He poured so much of his heart into us, and now was our time to give back to him (through) reflections and song and prayers.”

The prayer service took place inside the Sacred Heart Chapel with the OLLU community placing roses at the altar.

“The flowers represent his life and the (beautiful) impact he (had) on us,” Martínez said.

“Michael is just a very beloved person here, and while we greatly miss him, this was our opportunity on Valentine’s Day to give an expression of love to not only him and his memory, but to his family,” Rodríguez said.

Thompson also helped lead the city’s only live college newscast, Lake Front Live.

“He was a studio TV technician for our mass communications program,” Rodríguez said. “He helped those students get in front of an anchor desk, report, look into the camera. He did all of that. He was a real asset to (our) mass communications program.”

It’s Thompson’s unrivaled passion for the Saints that the OLLU community will miss the most.

“His most memorable game was in 2011, when OLLU’s men’s (basketball team) upset the number one team in the NAIA,” Rodríguez said.

Fifty-three seconds into a 2011 YouTube video, Thompson can be heard celebrating the Saints’ big win: “Three at the buzzer. They got it. Saints win! Saints win! Saints win! 94! 91! They upset LSU Shreveport.”

Details for funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

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About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.