Game brings Holliday back to S.F.

California is foreign soil for the Maryland football team, as the Terrapins haven’t played in the state since a 12-7 loss to UCLA in 1954.

But for the voice of the program, a trip to San Francisco for today’s Emerald Bowl represents a return to the scene of some of the more memorable days of a 50-year career in broadcasting. Johnny Holliday, who worked at KYA (1260 AM) from 1965 to 1969 and has now been covering Maryland athletics for 29 years, is back in the Bay Area to call game between the Terps (6-6) and Oregon State (8-4) at at AT&T Park.

“Man, I had a great time out there,” Holliday said. “It was an amazing time to be in San Francisco and we were lucky enough to kind of be a part of the whole scene.”

The Miami native began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey in Rochester, N.Y., and moved on to Cleveland and New York before coming to The City. He recorded his show at a studio in the Mark Hopkins hotel that became a gathering place for local musicians including Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and the Lovin’ Spoonful and was the master of ceremonies when the Beatles put on the final live performance of their career on Aug. 19, 1966, at Candlestick Park.

Holliday also began a shift toward sports while in San Francisco, working on some broadcasts for the Warriors, Raiders and Cal. He is best remembered by some in the area as the organizer of the Oneders, an amateur basketball team that played the faculties of local high schools from 1960-85 for charity. The team — which sometimes featured Rick Barry in its Bay Area incarnation — raised more than $1.7 million in support of education.

melliser@examiner.com

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