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Talent Profile: Jim Nantz, Play-By-Play Announcer

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 7:52 PM, under , , , ,

It was a fateful April Fools Day in 1990 when Brent Musburger was fired by CBS Sports. Slipping quietly into the role of lead play-by-play announcer was Jim Nantz, and he has never looked back. Freddy Couples must be very proud of his college roommate! This is Jim Nantz's profile as published by CBS Sports. Last updated Jan 15, 2008.

Jim Nantz, who has covered virtually every sport for the CBS Television Network since joining it in 1985, has been the lead play-by-play voice for THE NFL ON CBS since the 2004 season joining lead analyst Phil Simms on the Network's number one NFL announce team. For six years, he anchored the Network's NFL pre-game studio show, THE NFL TODAY. Last season Nantz called play-by-play for Super Bowl XLI and in a 63-day span starting with his call of Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, Nantz became the first commentator in history to broadcast the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and the Masters®, all in the same year.

His extensive credits include serving as host of THE SUPER BOWL TODAY, CBS Sports' Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XXXVIII pre-game show; anchor of CBS's golf coverage, including the Mastersรข and the PGA Championship; lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball, including the Final Four and Championship game; and primetime host of CBS Sports' coverage of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

Nantz was named the 2005 National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Nantz, Pat Summerall, Chris Schenkel, Ray Scott and John Madden are the only commentators to ever win the award while working at CBS Sports. He had previously won the award in 1998 and now joins Schenkel and Scott as the only CBS broadcasters to win the award more than once. Nantz also was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as the youngest recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2002.

For Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, Nantz was the Host and Chairman of the first-ever Super Bowl Opening Ceremony and concert spectacular: Super Bowl XXXVIII: A Houston Salute. Nantz created and organized the event with former President George Bush, the chairman of the event. Along with former President Bush, and 41 of Houston's sports legends, they welcomed the Super Bowl to the city by officially kicking off Super Bowl week.

Nantz began his tenure at CBS Sports as host of the Network's college football studio show (1985-88). He was lead play-by-play announcer for CBS's coverage of college football (1989-90) and went on to cover the NFL in 1991. By 1993, he was calling play-by-play for the Network's second-team coverage of THE NFL ON CBS and all regular-season and post-season broadcasts. He returned as the lead voice of college football in 1996, calling the National Championship Games for the 1996 and 1997 seasons (Fiesta Bowl; Nebraska vs. Florida and Orange Bowl; Tennessee vs. Nebraska, respectively). In 1997, he returned to the studio to anchor COLLEGE FOOTBALL TODAY. His lead role in college football has included coverage of the Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, Sun, Gator and Blockbuster Bowls.

Nantz joined the CBS golf team in 1985. He became the anchor for the Network's coverage in April 1994 and was partnered with Ken Venturi until June 2002, when Lanny Wadkins assumed the lead analyst's role. Nantz has hosted CBS Sports' coverage of the Masters® since 1988 and the PGA Championship since 1991 and served as anchor of the biennial Presidents Cup in 1994 and 1996. In addition, he had a prominent role in Kevin Costner's 1996 hit movie "Tin Cup."

Nantz took over as lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball in 1990. Teamed with Billy Packer, he has called regular-season and NCAA Men's Basketball Championship games since then. He has called the play-by-play on more network broadcasts of the Final Four and Championship game than any other announcer in the tournament's history. From 1986 to 1990, he served as host of CBS's coverage of the NCAA tournament and Final Four. He also handled the play-by-play for regular- and post-season coverage of THE NBA ON CBS from 1986 to 1989.

Nantz's myriad assignments for CBS Sports include play-by-play at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships for nine years overall, co-hosting the weekend daytime coverage of the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Winter Games and coverage of NCAA track and field, skiing, speed skating, baseball, swimming and diving, gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Festival and Pan American Games and even polo. He also served as host of the Network's coverage of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2001.

Nantz was graduated in 1981 with a degree in radio/television from the University of Houston, where he was recruited as a member of the golf team. He received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from his alma mater in May 2001 in recognition of his contributions to his profession and to the university. While a student at Houston, he held a variety of broadcasting jobs, which led to positions at the city's CBS stations KHOU-TV and KTRH Radio. Before joining CBS Sports, Nantz was an anchor at KSL-TV Salt Lake City, then a CBS affiliate. While at KSL, he also broadcast Utah Jazz basketball games and did play-by-play with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young for BYU football games, including the 1984 National Championship year.

He was born May 17, 1959, in Charlotte, N.C., and grew up in Colts Neck, N.J. He and his wife, Lorrie, live in Fairfield County, Conn. They have one daughter, Caroline.

Photograph Courtesy of CBS Sports.

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