KU announcer Bob Davis to retire

Posted at 8:10 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 23:35:44-05

The man at the call of one of the most historic programs in college history will soon sign off for one final time.

Bob Davis, 71, has been in the broadcasting business for nearly 50 years. He knew in the eighth grade that’s what he wanted to do for a living.

“This is pretty special doing games in Allen Fieldhouse,” Davis said. "It hit me today, that unless you get to the National Championship, you won't know which is going to be the last game."

For 32 seasons, his voice has carried Jayhawk fans through more than a thousand games. When the buzzer sounds on the last men’s basketball game of the season, Davis’ time will be up, too.

PHOTOS | A look at Bob Davis's career

"The timing is pretty right. My wife has Parkinson's and she needs a little help, not that I'm a great caregiver,” he said.

It’s his humor, humility, commitment and pure love of the game that resonates with people, players and coaches.

"There is nobody better at their trade than what Bob is at his,” said KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self. “I think I'll miss our Hawk Talks and our weekly radio shows. You know, I get such a kick of out of him and he always finds a way to make me laugh."

Davis was born and raised in Kansas, having lived in several parts of the state. He first hit the airwaves in Hays, then made his way to Kansas City. He worked in morning radio and spent 16 years calling games for the Royals.

Davis said some of his biggest highlights come from his time with the KU men’s basketball team. He’s been a part of 14 NCAA appearances, including eight Final Fours and five National Championship games.

Davis recalled one of his favorite memories. “You know, Mario's shot to tie the game against Memphis. That was such a great play,” Davis said. “And it's in National Championship game, are you kidding!"

KU went on to win that 2008 National Championship game in overtime.

“We're kind of on the periphery. We're not the story, we're reporting the story, but boy, it is fun to be along for the ride when those magic moments happen."

Davis has decided to give up those magic moments. He’s trading them in for another kind.

"The best thing about this stage of life is we have three grandchildren now. We just saw them today and they are terrific," he said.

In a month or so, Davis will no longer be calling games for a living. However, it will always be his passion.

“Well, you get to know people and people think they know you. I tell you, radio is a very personal medium,” he said. “That is one of the great aspects of it. I think as long as the human voice is still involved that's as personal as it can get. It's conversational, it's information, it's entertainment, it is whatever you make it."

Davis still plans to attend many games once retired. He and his wife, Linda, reside and plan to stay in Lawrence.

KU is still searching for his replacement.


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