Dick Enberg, a legendary sports broadcaster whose career spanned for over 60 years, passed away Thursday morning at his home in LaJolla, California, according to a report from the San Diego Tribune.
Enberg was 82.
Enberg, a native of Armada, Michigan, retired from broadcasting in 2016 and had just recently launced a podcast called “Sound of Success,” but he was most well-known for his incredible versatility behind the microphone. In his storied career, Enberg called 28 Wimbledon tournaments, 10 Super Bowls and eight NCAA Basketball Tournament Title games, including the seminal 1979 title game between Indiana State and Michigan State, the first Magic vs. Bird matchup, and the UCLA-Houston “Game of the Century” in 1968.
Enberg also called the French Open, the Masters Tournament, the US Open, the Olympics, the Breeder’s Cup and the Rose Bowl, amongst many other events during his time as a broadcaster.
His last major broadcasting gig was as a San Diego Padres play-by-play announcer from 2010-2016.
Enberg’s energetic, intimate approach was extremely popular on television and radio, and his catchphrases “oh my!” and “touch ‘em all”, which he used during baseball broadcasts, have become standard lexicon in sporting circles. Enberg was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2009.
Enberg’s career started in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan as an undergraduate student custodian at a local radio station, where he also called high school games and performed disc jockey duties before moving to Indiana University to pursue his master’s and doctorate degree in health sciences. At Indiana, Enberg was the play-by-play announcer for Hoosier football and men’s basketball from 1957-1961, calling the 1961 NCAA Tournament title game between Cincinnatti and Ohio State.
After a four-year break to coach baseball at what is now Cal State-Northridge, Enberg returned to broadasting as the voice of UCLA Bruins men’s basketball (where he covered much of the John Wooden-led dynasty) and Los Angeles Rams football from 1965-1977 and the voice of California Angels baseball from 1968-1978.
Enberg started his national broadcast career in earnest in 1975, signing on with NBC to announce NFL games, soon broadening his scope over the next 25 years to many other sporting events. Enberg would take his talents to CBS and ESPN in the 2000’s, calling NFL, college football, tennis tournaments and contributong to golf tournaments until 2011.
Enberg is the only person to have ever won Emmy Awards as a sportscaster, a writer and a producer and won 13 Sports Emmys and 14 Emmys overall, as well as nine Sports Broadcaster of the Year Awards in his lifetime. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Enberg, a 1957 graduate of Central Michigan University, was named to CMU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. Enberg has had a significant impact on his alma mater, with the athletic academic success center inside CMU’s Indoor Athletic Complex campus named in Enberg’s honor. The university also unveiled a statue in his honor in 2012, which currently sits in the Maroon and Gold Pavilion of McGuirk Arena.
Enberg is also honored at UCLA, which renamed its media pavilion in his honor earlier this year, and at Indiana, where he was inducted into its Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Here is Dick Enberg recalling in his own words perhaps his most famous moment as a broadcaster, when he whistled “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” during a game between UCLA and Oregon State. Rest in peace and fire up forever.