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Merton Laverne "Verne" Lundquist Jr. (born July 17, 1940) is an American sportscaster.

Verne Lundquist
Verne Lundquist in 2009.jpg
Lundquist at the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Born
Merton Laverne Lundquist Jr.

(1940-07-17) July 17, 1940 (age 78)
ResidenceSteamboat Springs, Colorado
Sports commentary career
Genre(s)Play-by-play
SportsAmerican football, basketball, golf

Contents

BiographyEdit

Early life and careerEdit

Lundquist was born in Duluth, Minnesota.[1] He graduated from Austin High School in Austin, Texas,[2] before attending Texas Lutheran University (formerly Texas Lutheran College), where he was one of the founders of the Omega Tau Fraternity in 1958 before graduating in 1962.[3] He is now a member of the Board of Regents for his alma mater.[4]

Lundquist attended Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois in 1962. His father was a Lutheran pastor and President of the Nebraska Synod of the Augustana Lutheran Church.[5] Lundquist played basketball and baseball and was a disc jockey at WOC, Davenport, Iowa.[6] His 'Golden Voice' was the highlight of the seminary class on preaching.

He began his broadcasting career as sports anchor for WFAA in Dallas[7] and in Austin for KTBC,[8] as well as being the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys. Lundquist joined the Cowboys Radio Network in 1967[9] and remained with the team until the 1984 season. He was paired with future (and now current) play-by-play man Brad Sham starting with the 1977 season, the year the Cowboys went 12–2 and captured their second NFL title in Super Bowl XII.[10] He was sportscaster at WFAA during their 6pm news, while his eventual successor Dale Hansen did the 10pm news.[11]

Before becoming a nationwide sports commentator, from 1970 to 1974, Lundquist was commentator for the sports show, Bowling for Dollars, in Dallas, Texas. It aired weekday evenings on the ABC station, WFAA-TV, from 6:30 to 7:00, in north central Texas.[12] During these four seasons, Lundquist started interviewing Cowboys players and their first head coach, Tom Landry, at their sidelines, during halftimes, practices, pre-season and pre-game warm-ups, in Dallas.[13]

Network assignmentsEdit

Nationally, Lundquist worked for ABC Sports from 1974 to 1981, CBS from 1982 to 1995, and TNT cable from 1995 to 1997 before returning to CBS in 1998.[14] Lundquist's patented belly laugh and his contagious enthusiasm for the events he covers have made him one of the more prominent and recognizable on-air talents in network TV.[15]

He is among the key voices of NFL Films, and in past years had called regional NFL games for CBS, NBA games for CBS and TNT, and TNT's Sunday Night Football telecasts.[16] He called television play-by-play on Seattle Seahawks preseason games from 2006 to 2008.[17]

During the 1992, 1994, and 1998 Winter Olympics, whose rights were held by CBS and TNT, Lundquist and Scott Hamilton served as the announcers for figure skating events.[18] Their performances were parodied by Saturday Night Live cast members Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond (as Lundquist) with Dana Carvey, David Spade, and Will Ferrell (both as Hamilton): in 1992 with Jason Priestley and 1994 with Nancy Kerrigan and Chris Farley. They did a spoof of the Olympics figure skating events, as both Hartman and Myers went "Oh!" when Priestly or Farley (in a pre-recorded performance) did an on-ice pratfall. Lundquist, after seeing the original footage in 1992, commented that Hartman "nailed it dead on."[19]

Lundquist filled in for Ernie Johnson Jr. as host of TNT's coverage of the PGA Championship twice, in 2006 as Johnson was battling cancer, and in 2011 when Johnson left after the second round following the death of his father on that Friday night.[20]

After his return to CBS, Lundquist served as the long-time lead play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports' coverage of college football on the SEC on CBS from 2000–2016.[21]

Lundquist retired from broadcasting college football games after calling the Army–Navy Game on December 10, 2016.[22] He planned to contribute to other CBS Sports programs, including its college basketball and golf coverage, for the foreseeable future.[23]

In March 2018, Lundquist announced he would not work the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, as he was still recovering from back surgery he had in November 2017, and would retire from calling college basketball.[24]

Despite his retirement from calling college football and basketball, Lundquist remains active as an announcer, calling The Masters and the PGA Championship for CBS Sports in 2018 and 2019.[25]

Currently, Lundquist resides in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.[26]

Appearances in other mediaEdit

Lundquist played himself commentating on golf tournaments in the 1996 motion picture Happy Gilmore.[27]

Lundquist was a play-by-play announcer in the NBA Live 98 video game[28] and was also the play-by-play announcer in the College Hoops 2K8 video game.[29]

Memorable callsEdit

A famous pet phrase Lundquist uses on occasion is "How do you DO!"; on a huge offensive or defensive play, a phrase he took from USC football broadcaster Pete Arbogast (who in turn took the phrase from venerable broadcaster Vin Scully).[30]

  • February 25, 1994: While calling figure skating at the Winter Olympics, Lundquist called one of the most watched sports events in history. The ladies free skate portion of the 1994 Olympics drew Super Bowl type television ratings because of the hyped Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan debacle. The drama unfolded that evening as Tonya Harding begin her free skate, then quit 45 seconds into her program, and went crying to the judges table of a broken skate lace. She was granted permission to fix her skate and start her free skate later in the evening. During the ordeal, he said:
  • September 16, 2000: In his first college football game called on CBS, a rivalry game between the #6-ranked Florida Gators and the #11-ranked Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium, Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer threw a pass to wide receiver Jabar Gaffney that was caught in the end zone on second-and-goal in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, only to have it stripped instantly by Tennessee cornerback Willie Miles. The line judge official signaled a touchdown, and the call was confirmed although replays showed that Gaffney did not gain complete possession of the football. The winning score gave the Gators a 27–23 win in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lundquist described the play:
  • October 7, 2006: While calling a college football rivalry game on CBS between the #5-ranked Florida Gators and the #9-ranked LSU Tigers, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow completed a one-yard touchdown to Tate Casey on the "jump pass" in the final seconds of the first half to help give the Gators a 14–7 lead:
  • November 11, 2006: While calling a college football game on CBS between the #6-ranked Florida Gators and the unranked South Carolina Gamecocks, Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss blocked a game-winning 48-yard field goal attempt by South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop to keep the Gators' national championship hopes alive:
  • October 24, 2009: While calling a college football rivalry game on CBS between the #1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the unranked Tennessee Volunteers, Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody blocked a game-winning 44-yard field goal attempt by Tennessee kicker Daniel Lincoln to keep the Tide's national championship hopes alive:
  • November 10, 2012: While calling the college football game on CBS between the #1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the #15-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel threw a touchdown pass to receiver Ryan Swope after nearly getting sacked and fumbling the football, all but cementing Manziel's Heisman Trophy that year.
  • October 1, 2016: While calling a college football rivalry game on CBS between #11-ranked Tennessee and #25-ranked Georgia at Sanford Stadium, Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs completed a Hail Mary pass to wide receiver Jauan Jennings with no time remaining in regulation play to give Tennessee a 34-31 victory, only 10 clock seconds after Georgia had scored a 47-yard touchdown to secure the lead and presumably the win:
  • April 14, 2019: Lundquist called the 16th hole at the 2019 Masters Tournament, where Tiger Woods hit a remarkable tee shot and made birdie to increase his lead in the final round. Tiger would to on to win the tournament (his first win at Augusta in 14 years) capping an amazing comeback.

HonorsEdit

At the 2005 Sun Bowl, Lundquist was inducted into the Sun Bowl Hall of Fame along with former UCLA Bruins football coach Terry Donahue.[40]

From 1977–1983, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Lundquist as Texas Sportscaster of the Year for his accomplishments from his time in Dallas. The organization later inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2007.[41]

In broadcasting circles, Lundquist is affectionately known as "The Golden Throat".[42]

In May 2012, Lundquist delivered the commencement address at Hampden-Sydney College, an honor he calls "one of the true achievements of my lifetime."[43]

Lundquist is on the Board of Directors of the summer music festival, Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.[44]

On October 22, 2016, Lundquist was a Celebrity Guest Picker on College GameDay on ESPN.[45]

Broadcasting partnersEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nowacki, Jon. "Duluth-born Lundquist chose broadcasting over the ministry 50-plus..." Duluth News-Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Strege, John. "Ben Crenshaw, old friend Verne Lundquist pay tribute to one another - Golf Digest". Golf Digest. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  3. ^ "Verne Lundquist named Outstanding Contributor to College Football". Texas Lutheran University. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "Verne Lundquist". footballfoundation.org. National Football Foundation. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Special Awards Salute: Verne Lundquist (CBS Sports), Jake Wade Award Recipient". CoSIDA Conference. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Blevins, Dean. "Dean's List: 1-on-1 With "Golden Throat" Verne Lundquist". Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  7. ^ "Storied career: Ex-Cowboys announcer and WFAA-TV sports anchor Verne Lundquist made SEC football his legacy". SportsDay. December 2, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "Austin's Lundquist to call his 26th Masters for CBS". Statesman. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  9. ^ Hot Seat: Verne Lundquist. The Dallas Morning News, January 31, 2009. Retrieved February 4, 2009.
  10. ^ "Brad Sham, Voice of the Cowboys: He says a lot because he's seen a lot". Star-Telegram. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
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  12. ^ Hall, Spencer. "An interview with Uncle Verne". SBNation.com. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
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  14. ^ Deitsch, Richard. "Verne's Last Call: The voice of the SEC prepares to sign off". SI.com. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
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  44. ^ "Board of Directors - Strings Music Festival". Strings Music Festival. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
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  46. ^ Sandomir, Richard (February 1, 2010). "Like Second Nature, Obama Turns Basketball Commentator". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
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