The Voice Of College Hoops’ Final Four Passes Away At 82
Two years into his young broadcasting career, former college basketball player Billy Packer became the voice of the March Madness and the Final Four in 1974 for CBS. Packer's voice became synonymous with the NCAA's crown jewel for the next 35 years.
On Thursday, Billy Packer's two sons made the announcement of their 82 year-old father's death on twitter.
ESPN.com's Jeff Borzello reflected on some of Packer's historic Final Four games. In 1979, Billy Packer, Dick Enberg and Al McGuire brought the country a battle of future NBA legends battling for college basketball's National Championship.
Michigan State, featuring Magic Johnson, knocked off Indiana State with a guy named Larry Bird 75-64 for the national title. It was a preview of many NBA battles between the two legends to come. That legendary broadcast remains the highest-rated game in basketball history with a 21.1 Nielsen rating, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers. 30 years after that night, Billy Packer decided to call his last game in 2008.
In 2019, Packer talked about walking away from college sports' premier event with The Athletic, "There's a point where you say, OK, I've enjoyed my run, and now it's time to go back and do the other things I enjoy. The last game I've seen in person was the last game I broadcast. That was the (2008) national championship game between Memphis and Kansas." I was fortunate to meet Billy Packer a few times at various events throughout my career. He was always very kind. Billy Packer brought a lot of great insight to college basketball fans over the years and we will always be thankful. Rest in peace.