Longtime Missouri basketball radio color commentator Gary Link “has been relieved of his duties with Mizzou athletics,” the department announced Thursday.
The stunning move comes on the doorstep of the season, and just three days before the Tigers are to play Kansas in a highly anticipated charity game at sold-out Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The department statement said it “would be inappropriate to comment further on a personnel matter.” Link was a radio broadcaster at MU since 1996. Before that, he played for Missouri from 1970-74.
One former Mizzou basketball player was dismayed by the news about Link.
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“The first person I saw almost every morning during my 5 years at Mizzou was Linker,” Laurence Bowers, a MU forward from 2008-12, wrote to The Star in a text message. “He was always upbeat and wished me a great day ahead. I appreciated that to start my day.
“I’m extremely saddened by this as Gary is a dear friend of mine, and a guy that we all know LOVED his Alma Mater.”
Nick Joos, Mizzou executive associate athletics director, said the search for Link’s replacement is just beginning. Joos also said Link stopped working for the Tiger Scholarship Fund “about a year ago.” The Tiger Scholarship Fund changed leadership in December 2016, when Ryan Alpert became the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development.
Alpert came to MU just 10 months earlier, from the University of Memphis, where he had a similar role.
Chris Gervino, sports director at KOMU-TV in Columbia who also is the Tiger Radio Network’s sideline reporter, told The Star that he will replace Link for Sunday’s basketball game.
Here is the full statement from the Mizzou athletic department:
“Gary Link has been relieved of his duties with Mizzou Athletics, however, it would be inappropriate to comment further on a personnel matter.
“The athletic department is working with Mizzou Sports Properties to identify a replacement for our radio broadcasts moving forward.”
As a player for the Tigers, Link was part of the first two Missouri teams to win 20 or more games. He played on Norm Stewart-coached teams that won three straight Big Eight Holiday Tournament titles, serving as a co-captain his senior year.
Link overlapped one season, 1973-74, with former MU men’s basketball coach Kim Anderson, who was fired from his job after last season and now coaches at Pittsburg State.
A member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame since 2014, Link was also a special assistant to the athletic director. When then-athletic director Mike Alden decided to fire men’s basketball coach Quin Snyder in 2006, Alden directed Link to deliver the news to Snyder. The firing occurred before the end of the season, and Melvin Watkins served as interim coach.
Link played at Lindbergh High in St. Louis.
The Star’s Alex Schiffer contributed to this report