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“The Voice” of Creighton Prep Echoes On

Nathanial George, Jay Journal Editor

“SHOO-TING ONE … AND ONE!”

In his thick Brooklyn accent, fans stretching from Elkhorn to Papio could recognize the voice. Barry Silverstein, Creighton Prep public address announcer from 1989 until 2011, was an Omaha high school sports legend that leaves a legacy beyond the Junior Jay community.

On January 15, 2018, “The Voice” of Creighton Prep, as he was known, fell silent. Silverstein, 67, died in his Gilbert, Arizona home after struggling with diabetes for years.

Silverstein was in a full tuxedo for the Junior Jays’ last basketball game in the old “Bird Cage” (aka the Mullen gym), while also stretching his tenure into the new era of the Heider Center. Silverstein also announced Prep football and baseball.

Originally from New York, he went on to play baseball at Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska. Silverstein then went on to serve in the Air Force and eventually wound up in Omaha.

He had always dreamed of being a sports announcer. At the right place and at the right time, those dreams became screams (of free throws and touchdowns, of course). Silverstein’s Junior Jay career all started with the help of Brother Mike Wilmot, a Prep basketball coach in the 80s who gave him a shot at calling games. The rest is history.

“Barry met Brother Wilmot for lunch and promised him if he was the announcer Prep would win five more games the next year,” athletic director Dr. Dan Schinzel said. “He showed up the next game and they won.”

With such care and compassion for others, Silverstein was an instant fit in the Creighton Prep community.

“His caring personality and care for others really fit in with what we do here at Prep, trying to be men for others,” Luedtke said.

Through the years, Silverstein became the friend and mentor of many high-profile Junior Jays, including Luedtke and Schinzel.

“Barry’s been a personal friend of mine for 17, 18 years,” Schinzel said. “He was very close with a lot of guys, and he always put other people first.”

Barry was as caring as he was selfless. Silverstein truly invested his all in each and every Prep student that he mentored – he was close friends with Luedtke for over 30 years.

“We were great friends, he was a mentor to me, we would talk daily, so he really meant the world to me,” Luedtke said. “He was a great guy, he would do anything for anybody.”

For the duration of the 2017-18 season, the Creighton Prep varsity boys basketball team wore jersey patches stating “Barry” in honor of the Prep legend. As motivation, Silverstein helped fuel the Junior Jays to their 13th state basketball championship.

“It made them realize that not only do they play for themselves, but they also represent a greater community,” Luedtke said. “They understood that it wasn’t always just about them but it was about them representing Prep, and the people that were here before them, so it meant a lot to them.”

One of Silverstein’s trademark traditions was covering the coveted Metro Conference holiday basketball tournament. In fact, he returned to Nebraska even after retiring to announce the tournament.

Honors include a 2001 Creighton Prep Athletic Service Award, a 2005-2006 Nebraska High School Announcer of the Year Award, and a 2009 Metro Holiday Tournament Recognition Award. Silverstein was inducted into the Creighton Prep Hall of Fame in 2013.

Barry is preceded in death by his son, Benjamin Alexander Silverstein, his father, Saul Silverstein, and his mother, Irene Feirburg Silverstein. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Silverstein, and their children, Hannah Silverstein, Marta Keller, and Sarah Moline.

“My father loved his family more than anything and he loved his grandkids more than anything,” Moline said. “He was an avid sports fan who enjoyed going to any and every sporting event, from watching his grandkids play little league soccer all the way up to going to national championship games.”

Creighton Prep influenced every area of Silverstein’s life. The Prep community was his second family, and he wasn’t afraid to let his real family know it.

“He considered Creighton Prep to be his family and no matter if my dad was present of 1,000 miles away at his home in Arizona, he always carried his passion for Creighton Prep faculty and students in his heart,” Moline said.

Even when his son, Benjamin, passed in a drowning incident, Barry leaned on the Prep.

“When he lost his son to a drowning incident, he really relied on the Prep community to help him through that,” Luedtke said.

Whether announcing or spending time with family, Silverstein lived every moment to the fullest. Although “The Voice” is now silent, his echo will be heard for the ages.

“He leaves a legacy of an enduring care for his relationships and his love and passion for Creighton Prep,” Moline said.

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