In October 2016, Jack O'Rourke and Pat Keane were sitting in Rade Dining Hall eating lunch. The two West Park natives had become fast friends in the first months of freshman year, sharing several classes and a love of sports.
Recently cut from the freshman basketball team, Pat looked across the table and noticed Jack's hockey jacket.
"That's a sweet jacket, how do I get one?" Keane asked.
"You have to be a hockey manager," Jack responded.
Pat nodded and got up from his seat without saying a word. He walked directly to the office of Admissions Director and Head Hockey Coach Pat O'Rourke '90 and asked to be a manager for the upcoming season. The elder O'Rourke said, "You're hired!" and gave him a new jacket. Keane sauntered back to Rade with a fresh hockey jacket to match Jack's and quietly sat down at the table, surprising the younger O'Rourke.
And so began one of the most successful duos in the history of the SIBN.
Since that October day in 2016, Keane and O'Rourke have broadcasted countless games together, including four state title runs. Keane and O'Rourke have become two of the most familiar faces and voices of the SIBN today, delivering Saint Ignatius athletics to the computers and phones of thousands of Wildcats fans.
O'Rourke and Keane grew up not far apart, but did not know each other well in grade school. O'Rourke attended St. Angela's in Fairview Park and Keane was an Our Lady of Angels Cougar. The two crossed paths, but did not become friends until the start of freshman year. Hockey bonded the two together even more.
O'Rourke had grown up around the game with his dad, first watching games from a stroller. O'Rourke idolized Mike Watts '10 and the first generation of SIBN broadcasters, first seeing a broadcast at the Jesuit Cup Thanksgiving Tournament at age 6. Jack's early exposure to broadcasting led him down the path to the SIBN, beginning even before high school. Jack and his dad often sat high in the upper decks of Progressive Field, broadcasting to empty seats as practice.
Keane did not have the same past with hockey or broadcasting. His first hockey game was a Saint Ignatius scrimmage in 2016. Keane put on a headset for the first time only a few games later, learning many nuances of the game on the fly.
Over the course of the next three hockey seasons, O'Rourke and Keane developed into a special duo. Broadcasting every game, home and away, and spending time with the team on travels from Canada to Pittsburgh, O'Rourke and Keane became parts of the team.
Along the way, the duo enjoyed many fun memories.
"We've had so many comebacks and crazy moments, from the comeback against University School in the State Semifinal in 2017 to the Greg Langermeier overtime goal in 2018 to Charlie Erbs scoring twice in the playoffs last year," O'Rourke said. "But one of the best memories came last year at MIHL showcase. We were playing the University of Detroit Jesuit. A little kid named Fisher came up and started talking to us. He was from Michigan, and he had a brother who was playing in USHL and had a scholarship to Western Michigan. We had fun talking with him on-air and even made him a Wildcat fan."
"The OT winner with Greg Langermeier going coast-to-coast is my favorite memory," Keane said. "I was going insane up in the booth. Running down from the press box to the ice at Nationwide is unreal. And then hanging out with the team, going on road trips. We're in the bus and in the hotel together a lot. We get plenty of time to hang out and get to know each other. It's been awesome."
The Ice Cats have won the state championship in each of the past three seasons with O'Rourke and Keane calling the action, delivering plenty of fun moments and three shiny rings.
The journey has brought lots of fun, as well as some worthwhile lessons.
"I've learned how to talk better," O'Rourke said. "I definitely want to go into broadcasting. I've had a variety of experiences, with broadcasting, writing articles, doing social media. I would definitely do it again -- younger kids should try it. Sports is a growing industry, this is a good way to get involved."
O'Rourke also gained a lifelong friend in Keane.
"Pat doesn't get enough credit. Pat watched his first hockey games at Saint Ignatius, learned and developed. He's a very fast learner," O'Rourke said. "His personality is great -- he's funny and laid back. Anybody can broadcast a random game, but to broadcast a state championship game and be calm and confident is something else.
"It would be hard to find a better human that Pat. I've been in classes with him, too, and he's the first person to offer to help you. He's a happy go-lucky person who's always willing to help. He's just a joy to be around."
So when O'Rourke needed a color broadcast partner for the Saint Ignatius baseball playoff run this past spring, Keane was the natural choice.
The duo broadcasted the Baseball Cats' playoff run beautifully. O'Rourke and Keane continued an undefeated playoff streak, stretching the run to 23 games. The duo has never broadcasted a Wildcats loss in the playoffs. Keane had to miss the State Championship for a college visit, but broadcasted the historic 13-inning win over Hilliard Darby in the State Semifinal at Canal Park.
"Pat has a gift for lifting the morale when our team is nervous. Before the game, Pat asked some of the guys to sign a Rubber Ducks baseball he found," O'Rourke said. "He got some smiles and lifted the mood. You don't see his personality type too often, he's a pleasure to be around."
The state final proved to be just as eventful. The Wildcats tied the game at 2 in the sixth inning, eventually leading to extra innings. In a dramatic 10th inning, the Wildcats plated two runs and held on for the program's first title since 2002.
O'Rourke's efforts in broadcasting the heart pounding action to 6,200 fans did not go unnoticed.
"The baseball program has been lucky to have some of the greats cover it, from Brendan Gulick '09 to Mike Watts '10 to John Fanta '13. And now, you put Jack in that category," Ganor said. "The other guys who've done it have been fine, but there's a different level that Jack has brought it to. I love having Jack around; it feels like he's part of the team when he's with us. I only wish that he'd travel more with us, because he gets along so well with the rest of the players.
"Jack is always smiling, friendly, outgoing. He's like the Mayor of Ignatius. He's the guy everyone knows and everyone has heard [on the SIBN]. He'll be missed when he's gone, but hopefully he'll be able to train some of the younger guys to follow in his footsteps."
Mentoring the next generation of SIBN stars is among O'Rourke's goals moving forward.
"I've been fortunate to broadcast a lot of state championships, it would be cool to broadcast 2-3 more, but if that's not in the cards, that's okay. I really want to teach the younger guys, that would be good," O'Rourke said.
Both O'Rourke and Keane have bright senior years ahead, though in different roles to start.
For the football season, O'Rourke will be in the broadcast booth as the lead voice of Saint Ignatius football. Last year, he did the color commentary, and this year, he'll be stepping into the lead role. His friend and classmate, Nick Fletcher, will be his broadcast partner. Fletcher cut his teeth by announcing JV games the last two seasons. Wildcats fans will recognize him for his outstanding efforts with the Baseball Cats this spring in bringing the state crown back to Ohio City. Fletch will be a captain of the baseball team in the spring.
The coaching staff enjoys having O'Rourke cover the Football Cats.
"I think he did a fantastic job on the rundown of quarterbacks for this year. You wouldn't know that it was a high school senior who wrote that," said Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Nick Restifo. "It was very well-written, the grammar was great. He had some great insights into the things I talked to him about. He's one of those students who you wish had another year, you wish you could redshirt him. He's such a great influence on the younger kids, too."
Keane will not be joining O'Rourke in the broadcast booth. Instead, he'll have a crucial role on the field. Keane enters fall camp as the backup quarterback to Griffin Hanna, in line to receive some snaps over the course of the season. Keane is a valued member of the quarterback group.
"Talk about Mr. Saint Ignatius. He just loves the school," Restifo said. "He's totally involved in everything. He gives 100%, whether he's in the game, on the sideline, or in meetings. He just does an outstanding job. He's good with background information, he works hard to study film and come up with insights into what we're doing.
"Both of those guys are fantastic kids," Restifo continued. "It's too bad they're both seniors, because we'd love to have them for a few more years. But they have a future, if they want to continue it, in broadcast journalism or writing or whatever. They do a fantastic job."
Both seniors are considering options for college, but a career in sports is not out of the question, especially for O'Rourke.
"Whether I'm broadcasting, writing, or getting coffee for Tito Francona, I would love to be in sports," O'Rourke said. "I'm looking mostly at John Carroll or Canisius, both schools with great sports communications programs. I definitely want to work in sports. My dream job would be to broadcast Indians games."
Keane is unsure about his path, but he's enjoyed every minute of the SIBN, too.
"It's been nothing but fun," Keane said. "Hanging out with the team and getting to go to all of the games with Jack and getting a different viewpoint on games has been a good experience for me. It's given me a lot of experience on the air, which not many high schoolers can say. It's been a lot of fun and a great experience."
Before the start of a busy senior year, which will see him broadcast football, soccer, hockey, volleyball, baseball, and lacrosse, O'Rourke has a few thank you's.
"Thank you to Mr. McCormick for giving me the opportunity to broadcast. Thank you to Mr. Ginley for driving me anywhere and everywhere. And most especially, thanks to my dad for being supportive," Jack said. "When I ask to broadcast a game 20 minutes before it starts, you always say, 'Okay, the back door is open.' I really appreciate that. And of course, all of the Saint Ignatius coaches and players I've worked with for always being nice and helpful."
Both O'Rourke and Keane have bright futures ahead with limitless ceilings. These two Wildcats are going big places. In the meantime, enjoy listening to O'Rourke and Keane for one more year. Whether the Wildcats win or lose, O'Rourke and Keane bring joy and laughter to thousands of Saint Ignatius fans through SIBN, and will be missed after they depart for a bright college future.