Editor's Note: There are a few play-by-play announcers I would love to sit down with for a beer, coffee, or whatever and just shoot the breeze as to how they got to where they are. The short list includes Vin Scully, Keith Jackson, and Dick Enberg. How many play-by-play announcers can you name that have a Ph.D. in Botany and worked as an assistant professor in health education? The only one I know of with a Ph.D., besides Rick Cellini of Sports USA Radio Network, is Dick Enberg of CBS Sports. This is his profile as published by CBS Sports.
Dick Enberg is celebrating his 50th year in broadcasting. Now is his seventh year calling play-by-play for CBS Sports' coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, Enberg joined CBS Sports in January 2000 as play-by-play announcer for THE NFL ON CBS, college basketball and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
He also contributes to the Masters and PGA Championship broadcasts. Enberg spent 25 years with NBC Sports, beginning in 1975 as the play-by-play announcer for college basketball. Known as one of the most versatile play-by-play announcers in sports broadcasting, he has taken on assignments including NFL football (39 seasons), the Super Bowl (nine times), the Rose Bowl (nine times), the Orange Bowl (six times), the Olympic Games (1972, 1988, 1992, 1996), the French Open (19 times), Wimbledon (22 times), the U.S. Open Tennis Championships (six times), the Masters (six times), the PGA Championship (three), the U.S. Open Golf Championship (five times), the Ryder Cup (three times), the American and National League Playoffs (three times), the World Series, heavyweight boxing championships (three times), the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship (10 times), the NBA Playoffs and the NBA All-Star Game. Along with football, baseball, tennis, golf, basketball and boxing, he has called gymnastics, figure skating, Breeders' Cup horse racing and track and field. Enberg began his full-time broadcasting career in 1965 in Los Angeles as the radio and television voice of the California Angels, UCLA basketball and the Los Angeles Rams.
Before joining NBC, he was named California Sportscaster of the Year four times. He hosted the long-running national series "Sports Challenge" and was co-producer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series "The Way It Was." Throughout his career, he has earned a series of national honors, including 14 Emmy Awards, nine Sportscaster of the Year Awards, the Ronald Reagan Media Award and the Victor Award as the top sportscaster of the past 25 years. Enberg's versatility is reflected in the fact that he is the only person to win national Emmy Awards as a sportscaster (1981, 1983, 1990, 1993), writer (1988, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999 , 2004) and producer (1978).
In February 1998, he became only the fourth sportscaster to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Along with his 15 National Sportscaster Awards, Enberg also has been named the 1989 Tennis Play-by-Play Man of the Year (Tennis Magazine) and the 1989 NFL Press Box Award winner as football's top play-by-play announcer. He also received the 2000 Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award. Enberg was awarded the 1984 Eclipse Award (thoroughbred racing), the 1995 National Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award, the 1999 Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Award and a 1974 local Emmy Award for coverage of the Rose Bowl Parade.
In 1973, he became the first American sportscaster to visit the People's Republic of China (USA vs. China basketball, Beijing). A native of Armada, Mich., Enberg began broadcasting as a student at Central Michigan University, where he was the 1957 student body president. He earned a master's degree (1958) and a doctorate (1962) at Indiana University. Prior to his sportscasting career, he was an assistant professor and assistant baseball coach at California State University at Northridge (1961-65). He is currently active in fundraising for education (Armada High School, Central Michigan University, Indiana University and California State at Humboldt).
He has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by both Central Michigan and Indiana Universities and in 1993 was inducted into the Central Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame. He received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Indiana University in May 2002. Since 1985 Enberg has served as the spokesperson for the Verizon Academic All-America program, which recognizes the academic and athletic achievements of more than 700 student athletes each year. He also serves as host of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame ceremony, an annual event created in 1988 to pay tribute to past Academic All-America team members who have gone on to make contributions to society.
In 1999, Indiana University established the Dick Enberg Distance Learning Center in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. He is the author of two best-sellers, Dick Enberg's Humorous Quotes for All Occassions and Dick Enberg Oh My!. Enberg lives in La Jolla, Calif., with his wife, Barbara, and the three youngest of his six children.
Photograph courtesy of CBS Sports.