HomeSportsBilly Packer, 'The Voice' Of March Madness, Dead At Age 82

Billy Packer, ‘The Voice’ Of March Madness, Dead At Age 82

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Packer, an Emmy award-winning school basketball broadcaster who lined 34 Ultimate Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday. He was 82.

Packer’s son, Mark, advised The Related Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the previous three weeks and had a number of medical points, and finally succumbed to kidney failure.

CBS's Billy Packer, left, and Jim Nantz share a laugh during a game in 2006.
CBS’s Billy Packer, left, and Jim Nantz share amusing throughout a recreation in 2006.

Packer’s broadcasting profession coincided with the expansion of school basketball. He labored as analyst or shade commentator on each Ultimate 4 from 1975 to 2008. He obtained a Sports activities Emmy for Excellent Sports activities Persona, Studio and Sports activities Analyst in 1993.

“He actually loved doing the Ultimate Fours,” Mark Packer stated. “He timed it proper. All the things in life is about timing. The power to become involved in one thing that, frankly, he was going to look at anyway, was a pleasure to him. After which school basketball simply form of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Chicken and that turned, I feel, the catalyst for faculty basketball followers to only go loopy with March Insanity.”

Packer performed three seasons at Wake Forest, and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the Ultimate 4 in 1962, however it was his work as an analyst that introduced him essentially the most acclaim.

He joined NBC in 1974 and known as his first Ultimate 4 in 1975. UCLA beat Kentucky within the title recreation that yr in what was John Picket’s last recreation as coach.

Packer was additionally a part of the published in 1979 with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State crew beat Larry Chicken’s Indiana State squad within the title recreation. That is still the highest-rated recreation in basketball historical past with a 24.1 Nielsen score, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers.

Packer went to CBS within the fall of 1981, when the community acquired the rights to the NCAA Event. He remained the community’s predominant analyst till the 2008 Ultimate 4.

In 1996 at CBS, Packer was concerned in controversy when he used the time period “powerful monkey″ to explain then-Georgetown star Allen Iverson throughout a recreation. Packer later stated he “was not apologizing for what I stated, as a result of what I stated has no implications in my thoughts by any means to do with Allen Iverson’s race.″

Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said Packer was “synonymous with school basketball for greater than three a long time and set the usual of excellence because the voice of the NCAA Males’s Basketball Event.”

“He had an incredible affect on the expansion and recognition of the game.” McManus stated. “In true Billy style, he analyzed the sport along with his personal distinctive type, perspective and opinions, but at all times stored the concentrate on the sport. As passionate as he was about basketball, at his coronary heart Billy was a household man. He leaves a part of his legacy at CBS Sports activities, throughout school basketball and, most significantly, as a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He shall be deeply missed by all.”

Packer was inducted into the Nationwide Collegiate Basketball Corridor of Fame in 2008.

ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale took to Twitter as phrase of Packer’s demise unfold. “So unhappy to be taught of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a ardour for faculty basketball,” Vitale tweeted. “My (prayers) exit to Billy’s son Mark & all the Packer household. All the time had nice RESPECT for Billy & his companions Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they have been tremendous. Might Billy RIP.”


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