For 31 years, Jim Nantz has been the voice of the men’s Final Four on CBS (and Turner), but this year will be his final one, as the legendary play-by-play man will make his homecoming to Houston his last time on the call with Bill Raftery and Grant Hill.
Nantz confirmed to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post that he will make his 32nd Final Four on the call his last one, ceding the lead play-by-play role in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to Ian Eagle after this season.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Nantz said. “I’m going to take Brent’s torch and pass it on to Ian. I’ve had the greatest seat in the house and it’s time for someone else to do it.”
Nantz cites his desire to spend more time with his children as the reason for stepping out of the March Madness booth, as he stays plenty busy with NFL and CBS’ coverage of the PGA Tour — where he will continue. However, an interesting wrinkle is that Nantz will still go to the Final Four and act as the trophy presenter, he just won’t call the games and will instead enjoy them from the stands.
“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.”
Not a bad gig if you can get it.
As for Eagle, he has plenty of tournament experience himself, works with Hill and Raftery during the college hoops season, and is a fan favorite, so him being selected as the successor to Nantz is of little surprise and also figures to be met with support.
It’ll be a bit odd in 2024 when we aren’t greeted to the Final Four with a “Hello, friends,” but sometimes it’s important to also know when to say goodbye.