Merton Laverne "Verne" Lundquist, Jr. (born July 17, 1940) is an American sportscaster, currently employed by CBS Sports. He is the lead play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports' coverage of college football and for that network's coverage of NCAA Basketball, including the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. He provides commentary for the Masters and the PGA Championship, among other PGA Tour events.
Early life and career
Lundquist was born in Duluth, Minnesota. He graduated from Austin High School in Austin, Texas, before attending Texas Lutheran University (formerly Texas Lutheran College), where he was one of the founders of the Omega Tau Fraternity in 1958 before graduating in 1962. He is now a member of the Board of Regents for his alma mater.
Lundquist attended Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois in 1962. His father was a Lutheran pastor and President of the Nebraska Synod of the Augustana Lutheran Church. Lundquist played intramural football,basketball and baseball and was a disc jockey at WOC, Davenport, IA. His 'Golden Voice' was the highlight of the seminary class on preaching.
He began his broadcasting career as sports anchor for WFAA in Dallas and in Austin for KTBC, as well as being the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys. Lundquist joined the Cowboys Radio Network in 1967 and remained with the team until the 1984 season. He was paired with future (and now current) play-by-play man Brad Sham starting with the 1977 season, the year the Cowboys went 12–2 and captured their second NFL title in Super Bowl XII.
Nationally, Lundquist worked for ABC Sports from 1974–81, then moved to CBS (1982–95) and TNT cable (1995–97) before returning to CBS in 1998.
Currently, Lundquist resides in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Before becoming a nationwide sports commentator, from 1970–74 Lundquist was commentator for the sports show, Bowling for Dollars, in Dallas, Texas. It aired weekday evenings on the ABC station, WFAA-TV, from 6:30–7:00, in north central Texas. During these four seasons, Lundquist started interviewing Cowboys players and their first head coach, Tom Landry, at their sidelines, during halftimes, practices, pre-season and pre-game warm-ups, in Dallas. Lundquist currently does play-by-play for CBS college football (teaming with Gary Danielson on the network's broadcast of Southeastern Conference games and the annual Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve) and college basketball (including the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship), as well as PGA Tour golf (including The Masters and PGA Championship tournaments). He is also among the key voices of NFL Films, and in past years had called regional NFL games for CBS, NBA games for CBS and TNT, and TNT's Sunday Night Football telecasts. He called television play-by-play on Seattle Seahawks preseason games from 2006–08. Lundquist's patented belly laugh and his contagious enthusiasm for the events he covers have made him one of the more prominent and recognizable on-air talents in network TV.
During the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics, whose rights were held by CBS and TNT, Lundquist and Scott Hamilton served as the announcers for figure skating events. Their performances were parodied by Saturday Night Live cast members Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond (as Lundquist) with Dana Carvey, David Spade, and Will Ferrell (both as Hamilton): in 1992 with Jason Priestley and 1994 with Nancy Kerrigan and Chris Farley they did a spoof of the Olympics figure skating events, as both Hartman and Myers went "Oh!" when Priestly or Farley (in a pre-recorded performance) did an on-ice pratfall. Lundquist, after seeing the original footage in 1992, commented that Hartman "nailed it dead on."
Lundquist played himself commentating on tournaments in the 1996 motion picture Happy Gilmore. Lundquist was a play-by-play announcer in the NBA Live '98 video game and was also the play-by-play announcer in the College Hoops 2K8 video game. A famous pet phrase Lundquist uses on occasion is "How, do you DO!"; on a huge offensive or defensive play, a phrase he took from USC football broadcaster Pete Arbogast (who in turn took the phrase from venerable broadcaster Vin Scully). Lundquist also often exclaims "Oh My Gosh!" or "Oh My Goodness!" Lundquist filled in for Ernie Johnson Jr. as host of TNT's coverage of the PGA Championship twice, in 2006 as Johnson was battling cancer, and in 2011 when Johnson left after the second round following the death of his father on that Friday night.
|| Bless his heart, he's got to be the sickest man in America!
|| There's the pass to Laettner...puts it up...YES!!!
- February 25, 1994: While calling figure skating at the Winter Olympics, Verne called one of the most watched sports events in history. The ladies free skate portion of the 1994 Olympics drew Super Bowl type television ratings because of the hyped Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan debacle. The drama unfolded that evening as Tonya Harding begin her free skate, then quit 45 seconds into her program, and went crying to the judges table of a broken skate lace. She was granted permission to fix her skate and start her free skate later in the evening. During the ordeal, he said:
|| Well this bizarre real life movie continues
|| Here it comes...Oh, my goodness!...OH, WOW!! IN YOUR LIFE, have you seen anything like that?
|| By George, the dream is alive!
|| Fourth-and-18 … lets it GO … OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH NO! Ricardo Louis! Talk about a Hail Mary.
- November 30, 2013: While calling a college football game on CBS between #1-ranked Alabama and #4-ranked Auburn, a fierce in-state rivalry known as "The Iron Bowl," Auburn cornerback Chris Davis returned a missed 57-yard field goal attempt by Alabama placekicker Adam Griffith with 0:01 remaining 100 yards for a game-winning touchdown on the game's final play, known as Kick Bama Kick, that gave Auburn a 34-28 victory and a spot in the 2013 SEC Football Championship Game. Lundquist described the play on YouTube:
|| On the way … No, returned by Chris Davis. Davis goes left, Davis gets a block, Davis has another block! Chris Davis! No flags! Touchdown, Auburn! An answered prayer!
At the 2005 Sun Bowl, Lundquist was inducted into the Sun Bowl Hall of Fame along with UCLA Bruins football coach Terry Donahue.
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Lundquist Texas Sportscaster of the Year for seven straight years (1977-83) during his time in Dallas, and inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2007.
In broadcasting circles, Lundquist is affectionately known as "The Golden Throat".
In May 2012, Lundquist delivered the commencement address at Hampden-Sydney College, an honor he calls "one of the true achievements of my lifetime."
Lundquist is on the Board of Director of the summer chamber music festival, "Strings Music Festival."
- ^ Hot Seat: Verne Lundquist. The Dallas Morning News, 31 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- ^ "CBS Sports TV Team". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
- ^ http://www.rtassoc.com/gm_nbalive98.html
- ^ Lechner, Matt (February 21, 2012). "The 5 Worst Drops in NFL History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- ^ "Yes Sir! Jack Nicklaus and the '86 Masters - Trailer". June 10, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- ^ "Christian Laettner The Shot 1992 Duke vs. Kentucky Basketball". January 29, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- ^ "Golf-Tiger Woods Chip at the 2005 Masters". May 14, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- ^ "2006: No. 11 George Mason over No. 1 UConn 86-84 (OT)". February 1, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- ^ "Miracle Catch! Auburn Game Winning TD vs Georgia". November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- ^ "2013 Iron Bowl ending HIGH DEFINITION Auburn beats Alabama". November 30, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013.