Billy Packer memories: Media, fans remember legendary college basketball broadcaster
Billy Packer, who covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died on Thursday at 82. But the legendary broadcaster was quickly remembered for his contributions to the sport.
Jim Nantz, one of his long-time broadcast partners, shared his memories about Packer’s legacy.
“I think Billy will go down in history as one of the greatest analysts in the history of sports television,” Nantz said on “CBS This Morning.” “I think when you start looking at the pantheon of great analysts, you’ve got John Madden, and you’ve got Billy Packer and you start right there.”
Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, John Calipari and Packer’s son Mark, a broadcaster himself, all remembered Packer as a legend as a game.
Here’s a sample of the reaction:
The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy. ?? pic.twitter.com/uFRixmgCcd
— Mark Packer (@MarkPacker) January 27, 2023
Statement from CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus on the passing of Billy Packer: pic.twitter.com/hQOwH7ufDk
— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) January 27, 2023
“I think Billy will go down in history as one of the greatest analysts in the history of sports television.”
Jim Nantz reflects on the life and legacy of his dear friend and longtime colleague, Billy Packer. pic.twitter.com/ulnTzKUcoX
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) January 27, 2023
One of the iconic calls in Maryland history:
“OH HE STEAL”
RIP Billy Packer pic.twitter.com/qeUVeRjQmd
— Maryland Terrapins (@umterps) January 27, 2023
RIP to the great Billy Packer. Billy was an All-ACC guard at Wake Forest under Bones McKinney, and later the voice of college basketball in the ACC and nationally. His voice and perspective were synonymous with the game. Packer should be in the Naismith Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/CeXiaIXFFz
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 27, 2023
Billy Packer was part of the soundtrack of my youth. Godspeed to a legend. pic.twitter.com/PwmZNOrLkN
— Jake Query (@jakequery) January 27, 2023
Billy Packer, a pioneer of our game, has passed away. Billy was a terrific player at Wake Forest, where he was also a coach, before he got into broadcasting and became a voice of college basketball. pic.twitter.com/ckn3REEXaX
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 27, 2023
So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball. My ??? go out to Billy’s son @MarkPacker & the entire Packer family.Always had great RESPECT for Billy & his partners Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they were super.May Billy RIP .
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 27, 2023
RIP Billy Packer
Every Kansas fan remembers this call from the 2008 semifinal vs North Carolina: “this game is over.” https://t.co/fzYt1WXs03 pic.twitter.com/iFws2nVOJv
— Joe (@ByJoeDavis) January 27, 2023
Very sorry to hear about Billy Packer. Knew he’d been sick, but still sad news. We used to constantly, but I think he was best college hoops TV analyst ever. Told you what he thought, was usually right and never cared if people didn’t like his analysis. Always enjoyed his company
— John Feinstein (@JFeinsteinBooks) January 27, 2023
How special was Billy Packer? If you’re a college basketball fan, you can close your eyes, clear your mind and hear his voice. Here’s hoping that never fades. RIP to a legend and condolences to @MarkPacker and his family… https://t.co/WlcX1mRqp3
— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) January 27, 2023
Loved listening to Billy Packer on the college games–he entertained and educated and made the game fun..my sincere condolences to Mark and Brandt and the entire Packer family. RIP Billy.
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) January 27, 2023
As an innovative and honest broadcast analyst, spokesperson for the sport of basketball, ACC star, those arranged scrimmages with Winston-Salem State during segregation … Billy Packer, what a legend.
— @sapakoff (@Sapakoff) January 27, 2023
I know not many Kentucky fans liked this man when he called our games, because of his ACC bias but you knew it was a big game when Jim Nantz and Billy Packer were calling it on CBS…RIP???? https://t.co/Dw4Cm7NE1v
— Christopher Peak (@chrispeak5280) January 27, 2023
So sad to hear of the passing of Billy Packer. He was the color analyst for our ‘85 National Championship Game against Georgetown. He had a deep understanding of the game. There was no one more prepared for a game. 34 Straight Final Four. An incredible career. RIP! pic.twitter.com/vLk95ticuG
— Mitch Buonaguro (@MichaelBuonagu4) January 27, 2023
A thousand times this. Networks have become so scared of potentially upsetting the viewer that they’ve made coverage as vanilla as possible. People loved to hate Billy Packer but his voice was distinctive and he knew the game. https://t.co/tE88M6RBMw
— ronnie m (@wolfpacker74) January 27, 2023