Chieftain Network adds familiar voices

DOWAGIAC — When the Chieftain Sports Network kicks off its 2020-21 season, a pair of familiar voices will be calling Chieftain football games.

Joe Jason, former owner of WDOW-FM/AM and creator of the Chieftain Sports Network, announced Thursday that long-time Dowagiac football broadcasters Pat Bakeman and Shawn Williamson have joined his team.

The Chieftain Sports Network launched last winter and covered all of Dowagiac’s boys basketball games, several girls basketball games and followed the Chieftain wrestling team to the Division 3 state quarterfinals in Kalamazoo. The boys basketball season was cut short as the Michigan High School Athletic Association suspended the winter sports season in early March.

Sports was then canceled for the spring season.

“Streaming is the present and future of how we listen to sports,” Jason, who has served as the main play-by-play voice of the MHSAA for 30 years, said. “We have nearly 7,000 people who have tuned in to hear the Chieftains, so we’re excited to have the football team’s familiar voices bringing the games to a much larger audience this fall.”

Bakeman and Williamson are both alums of Dowagiac Union High School. Bakeman, who is also a Dowagiac City Council member, graduated in 1988. He played on the 1986 Class BB regional championship football team that went 11-1. His senior year, the Chieftains were 8-1.

Bakeman has been calling Dowagiac football games since 2005. He also called the Chieftains state semifinal basketball game at the Breslin Center and broadcast Cassopolis football playoff contests.

Bakeman is a graduate of the Lansing Barber College (1999). He is licensed in both Michigan and Indiana. Bakeman opened Bakeman Barbers “The King of Cuts” in 2005.

Bakeman, who is married with three children, is a founding member of the Greater Dowagiac Youth Professionals. He volunteers by coaching youth sports and serves on a variety of area boards.

Williamson is a 1991 graduate of Dowagiac Union High School. He played his high school football under the direction of Denny Dock and Bernard Thomas. Williamson helped Dowagiac win the Class BB 1990 state championship. After high school, Williamson played football in the minor leagues following junior college. He played seven seasons and coached two more.

He was a member of the Mid-States Football League and finished in the Federal Football League, where he participated in two pro scout combines and in the MSFL championship game.

Williamson, who is married with three children and three grandchildren, is the general manager at Big C Lumber in Shipshewana, Indiana.

Williamson, like Bakeman, enjoys helping coach youth sports, he said.

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