Lundquist earns place in Texas sports hall
October 31, 2005
When Verne Lundquist was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame last month, he was surprised by the honor.
But he was even more shocked when a huge group of his good friends from Steamboat Springs showed up at Houston’s JW Marriott Hotel for the ceremony.
“The best moment for me came when I looked out and saw 20 people from Steam–boat Springs in the audience,” Lundquist said. ” I was floored.”
Kay Clagett, president and CEO of Strings in the Mountains, helped coordinate the group, which was actually closer to 24 people, with hopes of making the evening special for Lundquist who has always been a huge supporter of the Strings effort.
“I think he knew that a few of us were coming, but he didn’t know that all of us would be there,” Clagett said.
The group gathered at the house of Tom and Carol Chaney the night before the ceremony for a reception.
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Lundquist said being named to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame is one of the most prestigious honors he has been given during his career. He was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2003.
But, he said, the names of the athletes who have been awarded a place in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame make it one of the most respected tributes in all of sports.
This is the first time in the 55-year history of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame that members of the media were inducted.
The group also included broadcasters Jack Dale, Frank Fallon and Kern Tips, who influenced Lundquist early in his career and introduced America to a running back at Southern Methodist University named Doak Walker with his broadcasts. Walker eventually ended up in Steamboat Springs, but only after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1948, and leading the Detroit Lions to two national titles during his six-year career in the 1950s.
Sports writers Dave Camp–bell, Mickey Herskowitz, Dan Jenkins and Blackie Sherrod also were honored this year.
“It was unbelievable,” Lund–quist said of being named. “To be included in this group is an honor. The quality of the other seven guys who were inducted is outstanding.”
Lundquist now works as the play-by-play announcer for CBS’s coverage of college football and basketball.
Lundquist has been a commentator for more than 20 sports for CBS including track and field, swimming and diving, boxing, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, weight lifting, freestyle skiing, archery, horse racing and horse jumping. He also has worked for ABC and TNT during a career that spans 40 years.
He was the lead play-by-play announcer for CBS’s coverage of figure skating during the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympic Games. More than 126 million people tuned in to watch the 1994 figure-skating broadcast from Lillehammer, Norway.
Oksana Baiul won the event, but most Americans were watching for the drama between Nancy Kerrigan, who finished second, and Tonya Harding, who finished eighth. Harding was linked to an attack on Kerrigan, a rival, during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit just a month before the Olympic Games were scheduled to take place.
But the reasons for his induction to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame are linked to his work as the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys from 1972 to 1984.
“It’s amazing that anyone in Texas still remembers me,” Lundquist said. “We’ve been gone for more than 20 years.”
But Texas is where Lundquist made his mark covering the Cowboys as the NFL team made its way to four Super Bowls and earned the reputation as “America’s Team.”
During that time, Lundquist’s broadcasts could be heard on 119 stations in 19 states on most Sunday afternoons.
Lundquist was also the sports director at WFAA-TV in Dallas for 16 years and won seven consecutive Sportscaster of the Year Awards from 1977 to 1983.
“During the last 12 years, we really were the dominate news cast in our market,” Lundquist said.
He thinks the quality of the people working around him in the TV industry helped him gain notoriety and earn recognition.
Lundquist earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Texas Lutheran College in 1962 and received that school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He moved to Steamboat with his with Nancy in 1984 and serves on the Board of Directors for Strings in the Mountains.
“Verne does so much for this community,” Clagett said. “We all know what he does on television, but when you realize he does it at that kind of level it makes you love him all the more.”
— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209
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