SBJ/March 3-9, 2014/Champions

Odd start aside, CBS becomes home

Lundquist, who joined CBS in 1982, says: “I’m a CBS guy through and through.”
Photo: COURTESY OF CBS
Before joining CBS, Lundquist had an eight-year stint with ABC, mainly calling college football.

“It never worked out for me at ABC like I wanted it to,” Lundquist says. “I didn’t make the cut for the Innsbruck Olympics in 1976. I wasn’t asked. I was desperately disappointed. Then when Lake Placid came along [in 1980], I didn’t make the cut again. Well, then you know, I guess this is not going to work out.”

In fact, while his colleagues were at Lake Placid, Lundquist was working a bowling show in Peoria, Ill. “That’s when you know that your career is not on the

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

fast track,” he says.

In 1982, Lundquist received a call from his agent, IMG’s Barry Frank, who said that CBS was looking for college basketball announcers. Even though Lundquist still was under contract to ABC, he agreed to do a game between UNLV and South Carolina in March 1982 that went to six small markets. Lundquist felt safe that he could remain anonymous.

“My dear friend Frank Glieber was doing the main game that day between Memphis State and Louisville,” Lundquist says. “We’re plugging along to our little six stations.

“All of a sudden, I hear, ‘Stand by. They’re throwing the whole audience to us.’ Their game was over. It was a 20-point win. And I said to my partner, Irv Brown, ‘Just don’t mention my name.’ But Frank Glieber said, ‘We’re going to take you now to Columbia, South Carolina. UNLV and South Carolina. And … Verne Lundquist?’

“The next morning, a guy named Barry Bush, one of the first sports television critics for a newspaper and a friend, called me at the house and said, ‘Before I write the column, I thought I’d call you and find out. Why were you on CBS yesterday?’ And I said, ‘Barry, before you write it, can I get dressed and go down to the office and explain it to my boss?’”

Lundquist was able to get himself into CBS, which is where he has stayed ever since.

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