Legendary College Basketball Analyst Billy Packer Dies At 82

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Billy Packer, a longtime college basketball broadcaster, has passed away at age 82. His son, Mark Packer who is a host for the ACC Network, confirmed the news with a statement on social media.

“The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with (wife) Barb. RIP, Billy,” Mark wrote.

According to the Associated Press, Packer had been hospitalized in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past three weeks with “several medical issues,” and he ultimately succumbed to kidney failure on Thursday night.

Throughout his legendary career, Packer covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS as a color commentator or analyst. He covered every Final Four from 1975 to 2008 and received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio, and Sports Analyst in 1993.

Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2008, alongside Dick Vitale.

“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer said. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”

In his first Final Four call in 1975, UCLA beat Kentucky for the national championship. It was legendary coach John Wooden’s 10th championship and his final game as a coach.

Vitale issued a statement following the news of Packer’s passing.

“So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball,” Vitale wrote on Twitter. “My (prayers) go out to Billy’s son Mark & the entire Packer family. Always had great RESPECT for Billy & his partners Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they were super. May Billy RIP.”

Our deepest condolences go out to the Packer family during this incredibly difficult time.

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