Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bill Flemming, R.I.P.

By Mitchell

Perhaps he wasn’t one of the most famous voices in sports, but we should take a moment to say a word about Bill Flemming, who died last week at 80. You probably would have recognized Bill Flemming if you saw him on TV; He was most familiar as one of the original announcers on Wide World of Sports, where he did everything from golf to auto racing to cliff diving. For many years he hosted ABC’s Sunday wrapup of the week in college football. He called a few big games himself, most notably (I believe) Michigan’s 1969 victory over Ohio State in one of the great upsets in college football. Many probably remember him as part of the team with Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson, when he would introduce the starting lineups and report from the sidelines during the game. Here in the Midwest, he was familiar as the voice of the Big Ten Basketball Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons.

As Hadleyblogger Steve mentioned at the watercooler yesterday, Bill Flemming was a familiar, comforting presence, a recognizable voice whether he was covering surfing in Hawaii or cycloball in Germany. He was a thorough professional on the air, a refreshing contrast to the standup wannabees that populate ESPN nowadays. He will be missed.

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