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After 32 Years Jim Nantz Is Stepping Away From The Madness

One Last Dance For CBS Play-By-Play Voice Jim Nantz.

WASHINGTON — After 32 years of being the voice of The Big Dance and March Madness CBS lead play-by-play voice Jim Nantz is passing the headset to Ian Eagle and ending his run after Monday’s National Championship Game in Houston on CBS. It is this city that his career began, Nantz is a graduate of the University of Houston where he played on the Cougars men’s golf team, rooming with future professional golfers Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister as well as working on the campus radio station and local outlet KHOU -TV.

During a media call recently with the CBS crew Nantz got to reflect on his love of college basketball.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 12: CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz looks on during the Big Ten Basketball Tournament Championship game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Penn State Nittany Lions at United Center on March 12, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“A lot of people don’t know that the basketball program really was my entrance into the business,” Nantz reminisced. “I was completely tied to the Houston basketball program, more than anything else, to get me launched. Back as a kid, I was the public address announcer, I was the host of The Guy Lewis Show — our Hall of Fame coach — his television show that ran on the NBC affiliate. I was just a kid living in the dorms.”

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA – MARCH 16: CBS commentators Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery look on during the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Maryland Terrapins at Legacy Arena at the BJCC on March 16, 2023 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

March Madness the NCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament has been a very important part of the CBS Sports portfolio and in 2016, the Final Four and national championship game began to alternate between CBS and TBS. TBS holds the rights to the final two rounds in even numbered years, with CBS getting the games in odd numbered years but despite the networks sharing Nantz always had the call of title game. 

“It’s a bittersweet tournament for us,” Chairman of CBS Sports Sean McManus said.  “This is Jim’s 32nd — if you can believe it — Final Four and Championship Game as lead play-by-play announcer. His first was in 1991 with Billy Packer. Jim, as everyone on this call knows, has meant so much to the game of college basketball, to CBS Sports, and to the growth in popularity of this great event. Fitting another good storyline, he’ll be able to sign off from Houston, and on CBS.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 17: Jim Nantz, Tracy Wolfson, and Tony Romo attend the 2017 CBS Upfront at The Plaza Hotel on May 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Less than a week after he calls his final National Championship Game he will be headed to Augusta for the CBS coverage of The Masters, as Nantz will continue his duties as lead golf broadcaster for network. Then come the NFL season he will join Tony Romo back in the booth as the duo gets ready for yet another season of football but this week its court side in Houston where he will be for one last time. 

“When that one shining moment farewell piece plays on that Monday night, I think it’s the lock of the year that I’ll have tears streaming down my face. But, they’ll be tears of gratitude for being able to be entrusted with it for so long and have had a front-row seat to so many special moments,” said Nantz.

In the end Nantz wants to spend some time with his family after spending most of the year on the road. He has called Super Bowls, the Final Four, The Masters, he has nothing left to prove except taking time out for his most job being a husband and a dad. 

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