The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported late Sunday evening that college basketball’s true Mr. Sunshine, the mid-major hating Billy Packer, will toil for someone other than the former Tiffany Network next season.
Packer, who had been going year to year with his contract, confirmed through a CBS official Sunday that he no longer will broadcast for the network but is pursuing other projects in basketball. Packer declined to comment further.
Packer’s streak of working as the color analyst at every championship game since 1977 (and being a part of every Final Four broadcast since 1975) ranks among the most remarkable in network TV sports history.
”I think Billy has given the most professional accounting of basketball in the history of our game as a commentator,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said recently.
Packer spent his first seven years at NBC, where he initially teamed with Curt Gowdy and, later, with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire in what has been considered one of the most entertaining three-man booths in sportscasting history. He joined CBS in 1981 and has been paired with Nantz since 1991.
In 1996, he called then-Georgetown guard Allen Iverson ”a tough monkey” but later apologized and said he was trying to praise Iverson’s relentless play.
In 2000, Packer publicly apologized to two Duke University students for sexist comments he allegedly made before a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. When students asked Packer to show his press pass, he reportedly said, “Since when do we let women control who gets into a men’s basketball game? Why don’t you go find a women’s game to let people into?”
In Packer’s defense, I once made similar comments when asked to show a handstamp at a Polvo show at the Duke Coffehouse. Clark Kellogg is expected to assume Packer’s role as CBS’ lead hoops analyst.