Sunday, January 29, 2012

The day CBS pulled an analyst out of the stands

The date was 3/14/1982 and the event was the NCAA tournament 2nd round game between Idaho and Iowa played in Pullman, Washington. For this regional telecast, CBS (which was televising its first NCAA tournament) assigned play-by-play broadcaster Fred White and analyst Irv Brown.

Unfortunately, White suffered from laryngitis early in the game and was unable to continue. So CBS was forced to scramble and put together a revised broadcast team to call the remainder of the game. After an early timeout, Brown shifted into the play-by-play role despite never having done play-by-play before.Washington State coach George Raveling was in the arena as a spectator and CBS pulled him out of the stands to pinch-hit as the analyst and make his broadcasting debut. The duo of Brown and Raveling finished the game (which went into OT).

You can hear White stuggling quite a bit with his voice during this early part of this clip and Brown carrying the telecast leading into the first timeout. You can see the announcer transition take place at the 8:50 mark which Brown also references at the 12:00 mark.

This video is an interesting watch. The announcers frequently talk over each other and get loud at times. As you might expect, there are some awkward sequences (for example, see the x:xx mark). But overall, I would say that both Brown and Raveling did a reasonable job under the unusual circumstances.

I'm also unclear as to how much advance notice Raveling got from CBS about serving as an analyst on this telecast. Or, for that matter, how much advance notice Brown got regarding the play-by-play possibility.

Raveling would subsequently work as a TV analyst for CBS for a few years in the mid-1990s and later for Fox Sports Net.


  1. Kind of funny George Raveling would serve as an analysit on an Iowa game because 2 years later(1983-84) he would replace Lute Olson as the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Also at this time it was very likley he would attend the NCAA tourney sub-regional in Pullman as he was the Washington St head coach at this time. And Idaho was a very very good team that year rated in the top 10 in the final AP poll so they got to play VERY close to home(10 miles as sted in the clip shown)

  2. Good points. Idaho got a #3 seed in that NCAA tournament. And Raveling had some familiarity with that Idaho team which helped with the telecast (as the announcers mentioned, his Wash St team played Idaho that season).

  3. We got this game in my small MN hometown as I lived in the Mason City/Austin/Rochester DMA so the game was broadcast on the Mason City CBS affilliate. We also had a booster on our anntenna that allowed us to bring in the Twin Cities stations so we also got Minnesota/UTC at the same time. Mankato also likely had Minn/UTC but we got 2 different games as they were both 4:30 PM ET starts(3:30 CT)