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Famous Kansans » Sports » Announcers

Gary Bender

  • Born: September 1, 1940
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Norton, raised in Ulysses

Achievement:

Gary Bender was a nationally known sports broadcaster who covered football, basketball and baseball games for over 30 years. He began his career in broadcasting in 1967 as the radio voice of the Kansas Jayhawks, holding this position until 1970 and then moved on to the University of Wisconsin where he was the football and baskeball announcer and also served as the voice of the Green Bay Packers until 1975. He then moved into a television career working for CBS Sports until 1986 as a play-by-play announcer for the NFL on CBS and was CBS' first play-by-play announcer for the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. Following CBS he went to ABC Sports covering Major Leauge Baseball and then on to Turner Sports covering Sunday Night Football. He spent the remainer of his career with Fox Sports Net as the play-by-play announcer for the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Phoenix Suns, retiring in 2011. He is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Gary Bender image
Gary Bender
Photo courtesy of Gary Bender

Bob Davis

  • Born: 1945
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Iola, raised in Topeka

Achievement:

Bob Davis is a broadcaster who has served as the radio voice of the Kansas Jayhawks for the past 30 years. He began his career broadcasting games for Fort Hays State University from 1968 to 1984 before moving on to be the play-by-play announcer for the Kansas Jayhawks football and men's basketball teams. In addition to working for the Jayhawks he was a play-by-play announcer for the Kansas City Royals from 1996 to 2013. He has been named Kansas Sportscaster of the Year 13 times, is a member of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and a member of the Fort Hays State University Hall of Fame.

Bob Davis image
Bob Davis
Photo courtesy of Lawrence Business Magazine

Max Falkenstien

  • Born: Born April 9, 1924
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Lawrence

Achievement:

Max Falkenstien served as the radio announcer for the Kansas Jayhawks for 60 years covering more than 1,750 men's basketball games and 650 football games. He broadcasted his first Jayhawk basketball game during the 1946 National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Basketball Tournament. Shortly thereafter, he originated the KU Sports Network which was then taken over by the university. During his long career he called two basketball national championship, eight football bowl games, received the College Football Hall of Fame's Chris Schenkel Award, received the Naismith Memorial Baskeball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award and was named "Best College Radio Personality" by The Sporting News. He was the first non-athlete inducted into the KU Athletic's Hall of Fame, and is a member of the Kansas Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He was named Kansan of the Year in 2006 by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.

Max Falkenstien image
Max Falkenstien
Photo courtesy of The Lawrence Journal-World

Mitch Holthus

  • Born:June 28, 1957
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Smith Center

Achievement:

Mitch Holthus is a radio announcer and voice of the National Football League's (NFL) Kansas City Chiefs best known for his drawn-out exuberant "Touchdown, KAN-SAS CITY!" whenever the Chiefs reach the end zone. He began his broadcasting career as the radio voice of the Kansas State Wildcats for the school's football and basketball games from 1983 to 1996. He became the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1994 and has become the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer in Chiefs' history. Alongside his radio duties he hosts Chiefs Insider on the Chiefs Television Network and works as an announcer for Big 12 Conference and Missouri Valley Conference basketball games on regional television. He was named Kansas Sportscaster of the Year eight times, won the Kansas Broadcasters Association best play-by-play sportscast and won a local Emmy Award as television host of the Chiefs Kingdom Show. He is a member of the Kansas Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Mitch Holthus image
Mitch Holthus
Photo courtesy of the Chiefs Radio Network

Dev Nelson

  • Born: April 6, 1926
  • Died: January 16, 1993
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Marquette

Achievement:

Dev Nelson was a sports broadcaster whose career spanned fifty years, beginning in 1949. He served as the play-by-play announcer for the Kansas State Wildcats from 1954 to 1979, director of the Kansas State Sports Network and was the first announcer for the Big Eight Basketball Network. He was named Kansas Sportscaster of the Year five times and had the press box at Bill Snyder Family Stadium at Kansas State University named after him. He is a member of the K-State Athletic Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Dev Nelson image
Dev Nelson
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

Wyatt Thompson

  • Born: September 1, 1956
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Solomon

Achievement:

Wyatt Thompson is a the radio announcer and voice of the Kansas State Wildcats for its football and basketball games. He began his career in 1977 working as a play-by-play announcer for various high schools and colleges in Kansas and was the voice of the Fort Hays State Tigers from 1985 to 1989. He then moved to Colorado and would serve as the play-by-play announcer for Colorado State University from 1997 to 2001. He moved back to Kansas and became the voice of the Wildcats in 2002 and holds the position to this day. He was awarded the Oscar Stauffer Sportscaster of the Year Award in Kansas in 1989, the Colorado Broadcasters Association Award for Play-by-Play Excellence in 2000, and has twice been named Kansas Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 2012 and 2014.

Wyatt Thompson image
Wyatt Thompson
Photo courtesy of K-State Athletics