Packer out at CBS, to end Final Four run after 34 years
Billy Packer's streak of Final Fours is over after 34 years. Packer, a color commentator, will be replaced in CBS' coverage by analyst Clark Kellogg.
"With his unquestioned popularity and performance over the years, Clark Kellogg earned all rights to this top spot," Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, said in a statement Monday. "Like Billy Packer, Al McGuire or any of the most highly regarded broadcasters, Clark is an original voice with his own style and perspective." Packer, 68, will leave CBS after 27 years to pursue "other projects in basketball," according to The Miami Herald. Jim Nantz will continue in his Final Four play-by-play role. Kellogg, who has done game and studio analysis for CBS for 16 years, said he was "excited, humbled and quite pleased" at the opportunity. "I appreciate the confidence Sean has expressed in affording me this new role," Kellogg said in a statement. Speculation of Packer's exit was fueled amid widespread criticism during this year's tournament. Early in the semifinal between Kansas and North Carolina, with the Jayhawks up 38-12, Packer declared, "The game is over." North Carolina cut the lead to 54-50 with 11 minutes left before Kansas pulled away, winning 84-66. The Jayhawks beat Memphis 75-68 to claim the national title. Packer, who began his Final Four run at NBC, later defended the comment to USA Today. "My job is to say what I see, not have some kind of subconscious feelings about offending anybody. … It probably annoyed some people, but I don't concern myself with having some agenda that's contrary to what I'm seeing," he said. In 2006, he criticized the selection of four Missouri Valley Conference teams, before Bradley and Wichita State reached the round of 16. In 2004, Packer took umbrage at Saint Joseph's getting the No. 1 seed. In 2000, Packer bristled when asked to identify himself by two female students checking credentials before a game at Duke. One of the students, Jen Feinberg, quoted Packer as saying: "You need to get a life. Since when do we let women control who gets into a men's basketball game? Why don't you go find a women's game to let people into?" Packer later e-mailed an apology to the women. Four years earlier, he apologized on the air after he was criticized for referring to then-Georgetown guard Allen Iverson as a "tough little monkey."
Billy Packer will reportedly be replaced by CBS studio analyst Clark Kellogg.