Jim Nantz, the legendary CBS Sports broadcaster, will be lending his voice to the NCAA men's basketball tournament just one more time. Nantz's final March Madness broadcast, including the Final Four and the national championship game, will be in 2023.
Ian Eagle, the voice of the Brooklyn Nets who also calls NFL, NBA and college basketball games, will succeed him starting in 2024. The New York Post first reported the news, which CBS Sports later confirmed. Nantz commented on it to the Post as well.
“It is time with two young children and an older daughter that I spend more time at home,” Nantz said in a phone interview as he picked up his 6- and 8-year-old children from school. “Daddy needs to be home.”
Nantz has been on the men's tourney beat since 1986 when he joined the studio show. He called his first Final Four five years later, taking over for Brent Musburger. Since then, his voice has provided the backdrop to countless iconic Final Four and championship moments.
The stage will be perfectly set for Nantz, a University of Houston graduate, to call his last games. The Final Four will be in Houston in 2023, which marks the 40th anniversary of the University of Houston's dramatic and electrifying run to the national championship game. That setting is why Nantz reportedly chose the 2023 tourney as his swan song.
If you're worried you've heard your last "Hello, friends," on a sports broadcast, never fear. Nantz will still be leading CBS' golf coverage (including the Masters, of course), and will continue to call NFL games with his partner Tony Romo. And Nantz told the Post that he plans to return to the tournament every year to handle the trophy ceremony.
“I would like to sit in the stands for the great majority of the game with my kids,” Nantz said. “And tell them that their dad used to call this game. ‘Now, if you’ll excuse me for a few minutes, I’ve got to go down to the floor and give the trophy away.’ That will be a lot of fun.”
Nantz may return for the trophy ceremony, but that's all. He's totally supportive of Eagle as his replacement, and had nothing but glowing things to say about him.
“It’s his time,” Nantz told the Post. “I will support him 1,000 percent. He doesn’t need my support. But I’m absolutely thrilled for him. He’s a great teammate. He’s been right in the middle of this NCAA Tournament for a long, long time. So he’s not dropping in from outside, I mean he’s going to be working an extra weekend. It happens to be the big one. And he is definitely capable and ready and will excel and he’ll take it to all new heights.”