Longtime college basketball analyst Billy Packer has died, his family said announced on Thursday night. Packer, 82, spent 34 years on Final Four broadcast teams, 27 of them with CBS as an Emmy Award-winning college basketball analyst before his last Final Four in 2008.
Packer’s son, Mark, told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the past three weeks with multiple medical problems and eventually died of kidney failure.
In his three-plus decades as a leading voice in sports, Packer helped popularize three-man television broadcasting teams with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. As Arizona won the 1997 national title behind Myles Simon’s 30-point outing, among his many iconic calls was the line “Simon Chase Championship.”
Packer starred for Wake Forest from 1958 to 1962, but is best known in the sports world for his commentary analysis from the sidelines of college basketball’s biggest games, including calling ACC games in addition to his duties at CBS. An analyst from 1981-2008.
Packer was also the father of children Mark, Liz and Brandt and was preceded in death by his wife Barb.
“Billy Packer was synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard as the voice of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament,” said CBS Sports President Sean McManus. said in a statement. “He had a huge impact on the growth and popularity of that sport. In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his unique style, perspective and opinions, yet always focused on the game. As passionate as he was about basketball, Billy was a family man at heart. He He leaves a part of his legacy on CBS Sports throughout college basketball, and most importantly, a loving husband, father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by all.”
Packer also made an impact as a player, averaging 14.1 points as a 5-foot-9 senior guard on the 1962 Wake Forest team that reached the Final Four under coach Ponce McKinney. After a brief assistant stint with the Demon Deacons, Packer began his broadcasting career.
“Rest in peace to the most incredible dad, mentor and best friend,” Brand Packer He wrote on Twitter. “All my life I’ve tried to emulate him – how to be a husband, how to be a father, how to prepare for a TV broadcast, you name it, he’s been an obstacle for me. Crushed. But we’re relieved to know that Billy is in heaven tonight. Barb.”