SBJ/March 3-9, 2014/Champions

Lundquist: Best Calls and Top Dogs

Verne Lundquist has provided the soundtrack to some of sports’ most memorable plays over the past three decades.

“How many broadcasters are instantly identified by just a few words uttered off the cuff at some of the biggest events in history,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “‘Yes, sir.’ ‘In your life.’ Those words have their place in the sports history books right up there with ‘Do you believe in miracles.’”

SBJ Podcast:
Writer John Ourand and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss Verne Lundquist's career and the many memorable calls he's made.

For CBS’s Craig Silver, who has worked with Lundquist since the 1980s, Lund-quist’s gift is not in the memorable expression but in what he says afterward.

As an example, he referenced Lundquist’s 2005 call of Tiger Woods’ Masters chip shot that hung on the lip of the cup for a split second before dropping in. Lundquist’s understated call was, “Oh, wow! In your life have you seen anything like that?”

After about 30 seconds, he said, “He gets perfect execution and then he gets some extra revolution.”
“First he reacts as a fan,” Silver said. “Then he reacts with a more human touch.”

We asked CBS Sports to come up with Lundquist’s five best calls over his three-decade career. In order from oldest to newest, here’s what they decided:

The move from the NFL to college football has proved perfect.
Photo: COURTESY OF CBS
“Yes, sir!”
1986 Masters when Jack Nicklaus sank a birdie putt on the 17th hole en route to an improbable win.

“There’s the pass to Laettner. Puts it up. Yes!”
1992 East Regional final when Duke’s Christian Laettner made a last-second shot to beat Kentucky.

“In your life have you seen anything like that?”
2005 Masters when Tiger Woods chipped in at the 16th hole en route to victory.

“By George, the dream is alive.”
2006 Elite Eight when George Mason upset Connecticut to advance to the Final Four.

“An answered prayer!”
2013 Iron Bowl when Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a game-winning touchdown.


The Top Dogs …

Verne Lundquist describes his announcing style as “minimalist” — a quality that can be found in the roster of announcers that he likes.

“I like the storytellers,” Lundquist says. “I like the guys who write well. Jim McKay was a great writer. Jack Whitaker was a great writer. Dick Enberg was a great writer. I don’t think that enough credit is given to the necessity of writing in broadcasting.”

Here are some of the announcers who are on Lundquist’s personal Mount Rushmore of broadcasting.

Lundquist, interviewing coach Jim Boeheim after Syracuse had advanced to the 2013 Final Four, has provided the soundtrack for some of the most memorable moments in sports over the past five decades.
Photo by: ICON SPORTS MEDIA
 Ray Scott
“Back in the 1960s, CBS hired him and assigned him to Green Bay Packers games. He was the master at minimalism. Here was a Ray Scott touchdown call: ‘Starr. Dowler. Touchdown.’”

Pat Summerall
“He was great at being precise and short.”

Jim McKay
“A treasure to our craft. He’s the greatest storyteller ever. One of the great joys of my life was spending two years as the sideline reporter on the North American Soccer League games in 1979 and 1980. Jim McKay was the play-by-play guy. I got to watch him work every week for two years during the season.”

Keith Jackson
“One of my role models.”

Kern Tips
“He was the voice of my childhood. The vice president of McCann-Erickson in Houston, he sold a lot of time on radio stations and he’d do the lead game of the SEC. He was wonderfully creative in his descriptive abilities.”

Dan Shulman
“I’m a big Dan Shulman fan. I’m not such a big fan of his partner, [Dick] Vitale. He’s an acquired taste.”

Ian Eagle
“I like him a lot.”
— John Ourand


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