Billy Packer died on Thursday, his sons wrote on Twitter. He was a well-known college basketball analyst and broadcaster for the Final Four. He was 82.
Mark Packer, Packer’s son, told The Associated Press that his father died in North Carolina because his kidneys failed after he had been sick for a while.
The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/uFRixmgCcd
— Mark Packer (@MarkPacker) January 27, 2023
Packer called college basketball games for more than 30 years. During his time at NBC and CBS, he was part of 34 broadcast teams for the Final Four. From 1981 to 2008, he was a baseball analyst for CBS.
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He quickly became one of the most famous voices in March Madness, calling games with other greats like Jim Nantz, Brent Musburger, Dick Enbert, Curt Gowdy, and others. In 1975, when UCLA and coach John Wooden won the championship, he went to his first Final Four. His last win was in 2008 when Kansas beat Memphis.
Statement from CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus on the passing of Billy Packer: pic.twitter.com/hQOwH7ufDk
— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) January 27, 2023
After that season, he stopped playing the game. Packer worked briefly in sports and other fields, but since then, he has kept to himself. He told The Athletic in 2019 that this was on purpose. He said then that the final game he called was the last college basketball game he watched in person and that he realized he never was really a sports fan.
Packer played himself collegiately for Wake Forest, picked up a pair of All-ACC honors, and helped lead the Demon Deacons to a Final Four in 1962 with coach Horace “Bones” McKinney.
Mark and Brandt, Jim’s two sons, both work in sports broadcasting. Mark is an analyst and host for the ACC Network, and Brandt works for the Golf Channel as a producer.
“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark said, via The Associated Press. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing.
The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”