Packer Won't be Missed

It was certainly surprising when CBS announced on Monday that long time college basketball analyst Billy Packer would not be returning to the network for the upcoming season. Packer has been synonymous with the Final Four for the past 27 years, which includes four trips to that great event for the Florida Gators. He'll be replaced by long time CBS studio analyst Clark Kellogg.

I don't have a personal relationship with Packer. I've spoken with him a couple of times and he seems like a decent enough guy, but he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, especially in recent years. He infuriated CBS executives and basketball fans alike when he declared the North Carolina/Kansas National Semi-Final "over" with the Tar Heels down 38-12. Carolina narrowed the gap to four points before eventually losing 84-66.

Packer also had a run-in with two female students charged with checking credentials at Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University.

But Packer will go down as a giant in the history of college basketball. He and Dick Vitale did more to promote the game and spur its incredible growth than any other individuals did. He knows the game, loves the game and convinced many others to appreciate the game.

But Packer, like most of us who spend a lot of time on microphone said things that annoyed many, too. I'll never forget his idiotic comment about Gator guard Teddy Dupay during the 2000 Final against Michigan State.

"Dupay doesn't guard people, he mugs them", Packer declared after an incident between Dupay and Spartans guard Mateen Cleaves. Even when the replay showed he was overstating the situation and his comments were out of line, he never acknowledged that fact. Granted, this is a lousy time to be defending Dupay, but Packer still owes him an apology.

He also never got it through his thick skull that Florida's coach is Billy DONovan, not Dunnivan.

I appreciate and respect the career of Bill Packer. I also agree with CBS that it was time for him to go.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

Fightin Gators Top Stories