Larger than Life. An El Paso legend and icon.
A man with a very big heart who wasn't afraid to speak his mind.
There was no lack of description of Paul Strelzin, former educator, KROD-AM and KRHO-AM radio host and sports announcer who earned the nickname "The Mouth" for his antics as an announcer for the El Paso Diablos.
Strelzin, a Brooklyn native, died in his sleep on Friday. He was 75.
The cause of his death was not immediately known, said his daughter Sandra Strelzin-Lewis.
"He had such a large booming voice that was so intimidating," said radio host Steve Kaplowitz. "And yet, if you peel back the layers, he was like a big teddy bear. He was a real lovable guy, and he was a guy that always wanted people to respect him for the job he did. But more than anything else, he lived for his wife and three daughters, and, later on, his grandchildren."
He really enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and had done so the day before his death, said his son-in-law Tommy Lewis.
"He was seen the day before last with his family and his grandchildren at a sporting event," Lewis said.
"That's the way he wanted to live. He loved sports and loved his family and loved El Paso."
Strelzin-Lewis said her father had suffered from heart problems several years ago and had to undergo quadruple bypass surgery.
"That's the ironic thing -- he was always so giving," Strelzin Lewis said. "He had such a big heart. He was an incredible cheerleader. He loved us all very, very much and was our biggest proponent."
Strelzin came to El Paso in 1967 and began teaching in the El Paso Independent School District. He was a teacher and a coach at Hillside Elementary School, according to El Paso Times archives.
He later became principal at Bowie High School from 1992 to 1997.
About a year after arriving in El Paso, he got his first sports announcing job handling public address at the University of Texas at El Paso track meets. In 1969, he became the Miners' football and basketball announcer.
He also announced for the Diablos, where he was nicknamed "The Mouth" for his controversial comments.
Jim Paul, acting executive director of Hospice El Paso and former owner of the Double-A Diablos Team, described Strelzin as a spoiled genius child.
Paul said the two of them worked together to revolutionize public address announcements during the games in a way that would charge up the crowd and sometimes anger the opposing team.
Paul said he would try to moderate what Strelzin said by simply sitting behind him 75 percent of the game.
"We were called the PT Branum and Bailey of baseball. There was some things that he would still pull, and I would have to pop him on the head like he was a child," Paul said laughing. "When he was at UTEP, they never understood how to moderate him. They didn't understand that you had to sit behind him. But when I would pop him, he would turn around and pout just like a child."
Because Paul never knew what was up Strelzin's sleeve, he would rarely leave town. But on the one occasion he left to take his wife to Las Vegas for her birthday, Strelzin was kicked out of a game.
During a 1988 game against the Diablos and the Jackson Mets, El Paso Diablos runner Joe Mitchell was called out on a close play at home during the fifth
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