Verne Lundquist to leave 'SEC on CBS' after 2016 season, Brad Nessler to succeed him
CBS Sports announced Tuesday that Verne Lundquist will step down as play-by-play voice of the SEC on CBS at the conclusion of the 2016 season
Verne Lundquist's iconic post as the lead voice of 'SEC on CBS' will come to a close at the end of the 2016 season with Brad Nessler set to take his spot on the broadcast team alongside lead analyst Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce.
Though Lundquist is leaving the SEC on CBS booth, he will continue to be a fixture of CBS Sports' coverage of major events through his continued work in college basketball and golf.
"Verne has set the standard for college football broadcasting," said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. "Together with Gary Danielson, he has played a key role in making the SEC on CBS the highest-rated college football package in America. After an incredible 17 years, he will be handing the reigns off to Brad, who in his own right is highly acclaimed and respected as one of the premier play-by-play broadcasters in the business. I am very pleased that Verne will still have a prominent role in our college basketball and major championship golf coverage. We are fortunate to have one more football season to appreciate Verne's one-of-a-kind storytelling as we pave the way for a seamless and smooth transition to Brad."
Lundquist discussed the opportunity he's had to spend the last 16 years calling Southeastern Conference football on Saturdays and his excitement for the future of the broadcast with Nessler at the helm.
"Being a part of the SEC on CBS since 2000 has been the most significant assignment I've been given in my more than five decades in this business," said Lundquist. "Now, it's time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years. In 2017, I'll happily step aside from college football and welcome Brad to the booth.
"I've known Brad for more than 30 years and have always admired his work ethic and his on-air presence. He shares the same passion for college football that I do. The SEC on CBS is in great hands. Brad and Gary will form a great partnership in the years ahead."
Lundquist has broadcast more than 20 different sports for CBS and been a part of the broadcasting community for 53 years. He recently was honored with the Sports Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
"Verne is a legend in this business," Danielson said. "I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to sit next to him for the past decade calling SEC games and so grateful that Verne gets to finish his football career calling the last play the way he wanted. I am thrilled with the news that my former partner will join us in 2017. I look forward to picking up right where we left off."
Memories from the SEC on CBS booth
Last November, Lundquist discussed the importance of that intimate relationship with the SEC coaches during an appearance on the SEC on CBS Podcast. It was a great discussion (check out the full episode here) that included a story about coaches tipping plays during their media availability with the television crew.
"I'll tell you someone else who used to that ... Tommy Tuberville, now at Cincinnati," Lundquist said on the SEC on CBS Podcast. "He used to get a great kick out of it. He would share, and it was kind of like 'wink wink' insider information. But there is a matter of trust. Most coaches get it. They understand what our needs are and within their own personalities fulfill those needs."
Asked on follow-up whether Tuberville's tips ever helped Lundquist call his shot on the broadcast, Lundquist bellowed: "Oh yeah! And then the next week if we had them he'd say 'How'd that work out?'"
What's next: Nessler returns to CBS
Nessler is back at CBS after a 24-year run at ESPN that saw him become one of the lead play-by-play voices for college football and college basketball coverage. His first stint with CBS began back in 1990 with college football and men's and women's basketball, including the NCAA Women's Tournament title game.
Nessler's time calling college football elsewhere also had him paired up with Danielson, and both are thrilled about the opportunity to get back together in the booth.
"Verne has been a friend for over 30 years and someone I've always looked up to in this business," said Nessler. "I'm not replacing him as it would be impossible to replace Verne. I am truly honored to carry on where he leaves off and work to maintain the standard of excellence he has set calling the SEC on CBS. I am excited to rejoin the CBS Sports team this season and look forward to working alongside Gary again in 2017."
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