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Packer out, Kellogg in at CBS

By Ken Schott
Monday, July 14, 2008

After 27 years at CBS and calling 34 straight Final Fours, Billy Packer is out of a job.

CBS named Clark Kellogg its new lead college basketball analyst on Monday. He’ll replace Packer, who has been a fixture on college basketball national telecasts for over three decades.

The move may seem shocking, but I don’t think it is. Packer has created some controversy over the years. He was critical of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee in 2006 when it picked four Missouri Valley teams for the tourney. Two teams, Bradley and Wichita State, made the Sweet 16, proving the committee knew what it was doing.

Also, I believe that Packer was always jealous of ESPN’s Dick Vitale over the years. Vitale is beloved by college basketball fans, and has always talked positively of the game. Packer has been the more vocal critic of the game, especially with regards to players leaving early for the NBA draft.

We first saw Packer on NBC. Teamed with play-by-play man Dick Enberg and former Marquette coach Al McGuire, the trio entertained fans with their knowledge and wit. When CBS got the rights to the NCAA tournament beginning in 1982, Packer moved there.

“Billy Packer has set the standard of excellence for over 30 years,” CBS Sports and News president Sean McManus said in a statement. “I can’t express how important he has been, not only to CBS Sports and it’s coverage of college basketball, but also to the growth of this great sport. It is almost impossible to over-estimate his passion, knowledge and commitment to the game.”

Kellogg has been a studio analyst for CBS for 16 years.

“With his unquestioned popularity and performance over the years, Clark Kellogg earned all rights to this top spot,” McManus said. “Like Billy Packer, Al McGuire or any of the most highly regarded broadcasters, Clark is an original voice with his own style and perspective. We have been proud to have him lead our studio presence for many years, and look forward to his fresh impact on CBS Sports’ coverage of college basketball for years to come.”

Kellogg is excited about the opportunity.

“I'm excited, humbled and quite pleased to have this special opportunity and responsibility to serve as lead analyst for college basketball at CBS Sports,” said Kellogg. “I appreciate the confidence Sean has expressed in affording me this new role.”

It will be interesting to see if ESPN brings Packer on board for its college basketball coverage. Will he be humble enough to take a job there, or stubborn enough to turn it down?

 
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