Longtime college basketball analyst Billy Parker dies, family announced thursday nightParker, 82, has been on the Final Four broadcast team for 34 years, 27 of them as an Emmy Award-winning college basketball analyst for CBS, and was last in 2008.
Parker’s son Mark told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the past three weeks, had some problems with his body and eventually died of kidney failure.
During his three-plus years as the sport’s primary face, Parker helped popularize the three-man telecast team alongside Dick Emberger and Al McGuire and was never afraid to speak his mind. Among his many signature calls was “Simon says championship,” when Arizona won the 1997 national championship thanks to Miles Simon’s 30 points.
Parker starred as a player for the Wake Forest team from 1958 to 1962, but is better known in the sports world for his opinionated analysis from the sidelines of college basketball’s biggest games, including years on CBS In addition to his responsibilities he officiated at ACC games, where he was an analyst from 1981-2008.
Packer is also the father of children Mark, Liz and Brandt, and his wife Barb died young.
“Billy Packer has been synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard of excellence for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in a statement“He had a huge impact on the development and popularity of the game. In true Belgian style, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective and perspective, but always kept his focus on the game. Just like he did with basketball As passionate as he was, Billy was a family man at heart. He left part of his legacy in CBS Sports, college basketball and most importantly, as a loving husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all.”
Parker was also influential as a player, as a 5-foot-9 senior guard who averaged 14.1 points per game for the 1962 Wake Forest team under coach Burns McKinney. Led into the semi-finals. Packer began his broadcast career after a brief stint as an assistant coach with the Demon Deacons.
“Rest in Peace most amazing father, mentor and best friend,” Brandt Packer wrote on twitter“I’ve been trying to emulate him all my life – how to be a husband, a father, getting ready for TV, you name it, he’s my standard. Just crushed. But we’re at peace, For knowing that Billy is in heaven with Barb tonight.”