The East Carolina University community is mourning the loss of legendary play-by-play voice Jeff Charles, who passed away over the weekend ahead of a men’s basketball game at Tulane.
Charles, 70, had been calling games at ECU since 1988. The university announced his passing on Friday night. The Pirates’ Saturday game at Tulane was postponed.
Charles had celebrated calling his 1,000th game at East Carolina back on January 4.
“Jeff was a true professional in every sense of the word who had a unique ability to bring the game to life and connect with listeners,” East Carolina athletic director Jon Gilbert said in a statement. “He means as much as anyone to ECU football, basketball and baseball fans and we know Pirate Nation is mourning together tonight.”
Charles had previous stops at Furman, Illinois and Virginia Tech before arriving at East Carolina. Additionally, he worked at WSB in Atlanta as the sports director, hosting a sports talk show heard in 38 states and Canada.
Charles was a two-time North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year honoree by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He claimed those awards in 2000 and 2014. East Carolina named Jeff an honorary alumnus in 2015.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Michael Kay: Jeff Passan ‘The Greatest Guest in the History of Sports Radio’
“How fortunate we are to be able to get an ask out there and then have what many consider the greatest guest in the history of sports radio to appear on the show?”
Thursday was a joyous day for Michael Kay on several fronts. The New York Yankees completed a trade to bring one of the best young players in baseball — Juan Soto — to the club, which gave Kay content to talk about but also brightened his mood toward the 2024 season, as he serves as the team’s television voice.
While discussing the trade, The Michael Kay Show attempted to reach ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan for more details and for his opinion on the deal.
After getting through to Passan, Kay shared his admiration for the reporter.
“How fortunate we are to be able to get an ask out there and then have what many consider the greatest guest in the history of sports radio to appear on the show?,” said Kay. “How lucky we are for him. He can’t be luckier. You can’t be, and neither can our listeners. Because you know why? They get a chance now to listen to the great Jeff Passan.”
Then chastised Yankees fans who called into the 98.7 ESPN New York show who were worried about how much the team gave up to acquire Soto.
“You don’t know the Yankees fans that call into our show,” co-host Don La Greca joked.
Mitch Holthus Returning to Kansas City Chiefs Radio Broadcast on Sunday
“A week ago at this time all heck was breaking loose, but yeah, we’re back in the saddle and ready to rock.”
Kansas City Chiefs radio play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus was absent from a game for the first time in 30 years after being diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. However, he’ll return on Sunday.
Mitch Holthus is set to make his return to the booth for the 4:25 PM ET kickoff. Holthus joined Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler on 610 Sports Radio for his weekly segment on Fescoe in the Morning, which began with Fescoe asking how he was feeling.
“Oh yeah, 1 gazillion times better,” Holthus replied. “A week ago at this time all heck was breaking loose, but yeah, we’re back in the saddle and ready to rock.”
Holthus has been on the call for two Chiefs Super Bowl championships. He took over the role from Kevin Harlan upon his departure to work with the NFL on FOX in 1994. The longtime radio voice is in his 30th year with the team, a milestone achievement with one organization that will put Holthus in rarified air in NFL broadcasting history.
Jon Jansen: Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal Know How to Make Great TV
“…every time you hear Charles, it’s just pure entertainment.”
The NBA is on the verge of completing its first In-Season Tournament. ESPN and TNT staged on-site sets for studio-based programs NBA Countdown and Inside the NBA, respectively. The two shows interacted with one another before the game with special segments that incorporated a split-screen view of both presentations. Banter between Stephen A. Smith and Charles Barkley seemed to take center stage, with various moments circulating around social media.
On Friday morning, Stoney and Jansen with Heather on 97.1 The Ticket played audio of Barkley declaring that he would give Smith his “first ass whooping” if he came to the TNT set, which led Jon Jansen to share his admiration for Barkley.
“Charles and Shaq together are terrific,” co-host Jon Jansen said, “but every time you hear Charles, it’s just pure entertainment.”
Charles Barkley is an 11-time NBA All-Star and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and has been a fixture on Inside the NBA since joining the program in 2000. Over the years, he has frequently received plaudits for being a venerated and entertaining analyst and travels to venues with the rest of the crew for special episodes during the year. Barkley also recently started hosting a weekly CNN show, King Charles, alongside Gayle King where he discusses matters beyond sports, including politics and lifestyle.
During his time on the show, Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have had a congenial feud that has included several lighthearted moments. From races to the big board in the studio to pranks played on one another, the rapport between these former players has long been regarded as a hallmark of the program. O’Neal further displayed his personality by manning the SHAQ Cam for Bleacher Report, in which he walked around the venue and interacted with fans and celebrities, including Rich Paul, French Montana, and Julius Erving.
“The only problem with Shaq is ‘cause you can’t understand what he has to say sometimes because his voice is so low, but they did a thing last night where they gave him his own camera and he’s walking around the stands and talking to people and some celebrities,” co-host Mike Stone said. “It was hysterical. That’s the best sports programming there is besides the game; it’s not even close. Inside the NBA is just awesome.”
Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, along with fellow analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith and host Ernie Johnson, make their return to the TNT airwaves on Tuesday for an NBA doubleheader.
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