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Legendary college basketball announcer Billy Packer dead at 82

Longtime college basketball broadcaster Billy Packer, who was a part of 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday at the age of 82, according to a tweet from his son.

“The Packer Family would like to share some sad news,” tweeted his son Mark, who hosts a show on the ACC Network. “Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy.”

Packer — who in 1993 received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst — worked with many of the top play-by-play broadcasters of his era, including Curt Gowdy, Dick Enberg, Brent Musburger and Jim Nantz.

Dick Vitale tweeted his condolences.

“So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball. My [prayers] 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.”

Longtime college basketball analyst Billy Packer died on Thursday at 82.
Longtime college basketball analyst Billy Packer died on Thursday at 82.
New York Post

Packer also wrote multiple books. One of his best known was the memoir “Hoops: Confessions of a College Basketball Analyst” in 1985.

Before Packer became a nationally recognized analyst, he had a solid playing career at Wake Forest, helping lead the Demon Deacons to the 1962 Final Four.

In 1972, he began his broadcasting career in Raleigh, N.C. He made his leap to the national level at NBC in 1974 and remained there until 1981.

Billy Packer with Jim Nantz in 2001
Billy Packer with Jim Nantz in 2001

From there, Packer joined CBS, where he remained until his retirement in 2008. He called every NCAA men’s basketball tournament, including the Final Four, from 1975 to 2008.

Packer, who was known for his hot takes, sometimes courted controversy.

He apologized for calling Allen Iverson a “tough monkey” in 1996, saying he meant no racial overtones with the comment. He also expressed remorse and was sorry for making sexist comments toward two female Duke students in 2000 for saying they shouldn’t have been checking press passes at a men’s basketball game.

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