Will CBS’ Jim Nantz Close His Last Final Four With ‘Good Night, Friends?’

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HOUSTON – When Brent Mushburger left CBS in 1990, he was called an “anchor monster.”

Jim Nantz has been a softer, quieter and much more popular play-by-play voice of the NCAA Tournament and the Final Four since 1991. He will call his last national championship game Monday night when Connecticut and San Diego State play at 9:20 p.m. EST on CBS in NRG Stadium.

Nantz’ first job as a sports anchor was just 8 miles away from NRG at KHOU-TV in the early 1980s. He graduated from the University of Houston – 6 miles away – in 1981 in Radio and Television after playing on the Cougars’ golf team. His teammate and roommate was Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters champion with Nantz at the microphone.

Jim Nantz Is Not Retiring

He will say, “Hello, friends,” one more time tonight. Will he close with, “Good night, friends?” We shall see and hear before midnight – barring overtime. He will continue to do the Masters, which opens next week.

Hello Friends Boulevard at Jim Nantz Way outside Houston’s NRG Stadium, home of the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, which will be CBS’ Jim Nantz last one. (Photo By OutKick’s Glenn Guilbeau).

“I’m not retiring in any capacity,” Nantz told CBS News over the weekend. “It’s just I want to be home a little more often. My kids need daddy at home, and daddy needs to be with them more, too.”

Nantz has an 8-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son with his second wife, Courtney Richards, and a daughter with his first wife, Ann-Lorraine Carlsen.

More Family Time

“So something had to give,” said Nantz, who announced last October that this would be his last basketball season. “It was a difficult decision, but I don’t regret it.”

Nantz, who will be 64 in May, was born in Charlotte, N.C., and grew up in New Orleans and in Marlboro Township, N.J. At Marlboro High, he was co-captain of the basketball and golf teams. Since 1989 he has been the voice of the Masters and coined the phrase, “a tradition unlike any other.”

Jim Nantz
CBS’ Jim Nantz, who graduated from the University of Houston in 1981, waves to fans during the Florida Atlantic-San Diego State Final Four game in NRG Stadium in Houston Saturday. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

At the NCAA Tournament first round in Birmingham, Alabama, last month, fans lined up at halftime of each game to shake his hand or get an autograph. He was gracious and nice to everyone.

“I bet you’re pulling for your Houston Cougars,” a fan said before a game.

“Proud of my Cougars,” he said.

Nantz left Houston to be an anchor in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 1982-85 and called Brigham Young games and Utah Jazz games before moving to CBS in 1985.

“I’m very grateful that the city of Houston gave me that chance,” Nantz said. “I have just a huge heart-filled measure of thanks for being able to have this set for that long and to be able to tell so many stories.”

One More National Championship Call For Nantz

And one more. He closed Arkansas’ national championship in 1994 with, “Arkansas is in Hog Heaven!”

A year after Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, Virginia won the national championship in 2019.

“And Virginia with the all-time turnaround title,” he said.

“There’s a new dean in college basketball at North Carolina,” Nantz said of Roy Williams’ first national title with the Tar Heels in 2005. He was an an assistant under Dean Smith, who won titles in 1982 and ’93.

“As good as it gets, Florida is the national champion,” he said of the Gators in 2006.

How will this one go?

“I’m just looking forward to one last celebration of college basketball,” he said. “Not me.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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