Longtime college basketball commentator Billy Packer has died at the age of 82, his son Mark Packer said on Twitter and The Associated Press confirmed.
“The Packer family has some bad news to share. Billy, our amazing father, has died. We’re happy to know that he’s in heaven with his wife Barb. “R.I.P., Billy,” Mark, a presenter on the ACC Network, wrote.
Mark Packer told The Associated Press that his father had been in the hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, for three weeks because of many health problems. His father died Thursday night from renal failure.
College basketball commentator Billy Packer died at age 82 because his kidneys stopped working.
Know More About Billy Packer’s Career
Billy Packer’s voice was always associated with March Madness for many years. He was the announcer for the men’s Final Four from 1975 to 2008, first for NBC and then for CBS.
In 1975, Packer’s first Final Four after joining NBC in 1974, UCLA coach John Wooden won his tenth championship in his last game. In 1979, Packer, Dick Enberg, and Al McGuire called the highest-rated college basketball game ever, which was the national championship game between Magic Johnson’s Michigan State and Larry Bird’s Indiana State.
Mark Packer said, “He really liked doing the Final Fours.” “He got the timing right. Timing is the key to everything in life. He loved being able to take part in something that, honestly, he was going to watch anyway. Then Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made college basketball really popular, and I think that’s what made college basketball fans go crazy for March Madness.
Also read: What Was Jessie Lemonier Cause Of Death?
Along the way, Packer won a number of awards, including an “Outstanding Sports Personality/Analyst” Sports Emmy in 1993. In 1996, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame gave him the Curt Gowdy Media Award, and in 2008, he and Dick Vitale were both inducted as contributors to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Vitale wrote on Twitter, “So sad to hear that Billy Packer, who loved college basketball so much, has died.
When CBS got the rights to the NCAA Tournament in 1981, Packer joined the network. He was the network’s main commentator until 2008.
Sean McManus, head of CBS Sports, said that Packer was “synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades” and set the standard for excellence as the voice of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
McManus said, “He had a huge effect on the growth and popularity of the sport.” “In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective, and opinions, but he always kept the focus on the game. Billy was a family man at heart, no matter how much he loved basketball. He will be remembered at CBS Sports, in college basketball, and most of all as a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Everyone will miss him a lot.”
Before he became one of the most important voices in basketball, Packer was a great college basketball player. From 1959 to 1962, he played for Wake Forest. During that time, he helped the Demon Deacons win two ACC tournaments. In 1962, Wake Forest made it to the Final Four.
During his time as a sportscaster, Packer was seen as a controversial figure who often made college basketball fans angry, especially on North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”
“When I was a kid, I was a big NC State fan. I’d watch a game and think the next day, ‘Boy, you sure hate NC State, don’t you?’ Mark Packer said, “He’d just laugh.”
The younger Packer said it didn’t matter where he went to school because most fans thought the same thing about his father no matter where he went.
Mark Packer said, “He would cover North Carolina games, and the Tar Heels fans would say, ‘You hate North Carolina!'” “Wake Forest fans would tell us, ‘You hate us.’ And Billy thought that was pretty funny. People would be all over him, right? But he really didn’t give a crap about it.”