As March Madness approaches, one of the more beloved announcing teams is Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. They've already been assigned to one of the NCAA Tournament regional finals by CBS/Turner Sports.
Of course, Verne is also coming off one of the more exciting SEC football seasons where he had the dramatic "Prayers at Jordan Hare" calls in successive weeks.
This week Uncle Verne talked with Sports Business Journal about his favorite announcers both past and currrent. He also discussed the broadcast style that appeals to him the most:
“I like the storytellers. 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.”
Lundquist calls himself a minimalist and some of his favorite announcers have followed that style. He listed his favorites for SBJ including Ray Scott, Pat Summerall, and Jim McKay.
And what about the current crop of announcers? Lundquist highlighted two in particular, ESPN's Dan Shulman and CBS' Ian Eagle saying he was big fans of their work.
But Lundquist also pointed to ESPN's Dick Vitale saying he's not a big fan and that the long-time college basketball is "an acquired taste."
It's rare for announcers to go out on a limb and criticize others, but we've seen hints of this from Verne especially when he took a playful jab last year at Brent Musburger and that "four letter network."
Vitale has not responded to Lundquist's criticism and is unlikely to at this point. But on the off chance that he does, it could launch one of the most unlikely sports media feuds in history.
March 7, 12:30 p.m.: Mr. Vitale has given his response as only he can. Give him credit for making it humorous.
It's your move, Uncle Verne.
[Sports Business Journal]