For Pete's Sake

Brent Musburger to end his broadcast career next week

In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo provided by ESPN, Brent Musburger worked a college basketball game.
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo provided by ESPN, Brent Musburger worked a college basketball game. The Associated Press

Brent Musburger, one of the most familiar voices in sports television history, will end his play-by-play career next week.

ESPN announced that Musburger, 77, will call his last game on Tuesday when the Kentucky men’s basketball team plays host to Georgia.

“What a wonderful journey I have traveled with CBS and the Disney company,” Musburger said in a statement on ESPN’s site. “A love of sports allows me to live a life of endless pleasure. And make no mistake, I will miss the arenas and stadiums dearly. Most of all, I will miss the folks I have met along the trail.

“But the next rodeo for me is in Las Vegas. Stop by and we’ll share a cold one and some good stories. I may even buy!”

The Associated Press reported that Musburger is going to Las Vegas and help his family start a sports handicapping business.

Musburger started at CBS in 1975 and went to ABC in 1990. He has covered nearly every big sporting event, including the Super Bowl, the Final Four, major bowl games, the NBA, the Masters and World Cup soccer.

Musburger was the host of the groundbreaking NFL pregame show, “The NFL Today” on CBS.

“Brent’s presence and delivery have come to symbolize big time sports for multiple generations of fans,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a release. “When he opens with his signature ‘You are looking live,’ you sit up straight in your chair because you know something important is about to happen. Brent’s catalog of big events is unmatched, and he has skillfully guided us through some of the most dramatic and memorable moments in sports with his authentic and distinctive style. He is one of the best story-tellers to ever grace a sports booth. We and the fans will miss him.”

In 2011, Musburger was honored by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award. That same year Musburger was enshrined into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

Musburger also has faced criticism.

In 2013, ESPN apologized after Musburger gushed about Katherine Webb, who was the girlfriend of then Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, during the national-championship game against Notre Dame.

“Wow, I’m telling you quarterbacks: You get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said as the camera focused on Webb. “What a beautiful woman. Wow!”

At the Sugar Bowl earlier this month, Musburger was criticized for his defense of Oklahoma football player Joe Mixon, who previously had punched a female student in the face.

ESPN told the Associated Press that his decision to leave was not related to the comments about Mixon.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff