I unfortunately have sad news to report this morning — a March Madness legend has died.
Billy Packer, who was a legendary college basketball commentator and was the voice of the NCAA Tournament for over 30 years, died Jan. 26. He was 82 years old.
Mark and Brandt Parker, who are Billy’s two sons, made the announcement via Twitter:
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 Barb. RIP, Billy. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/uFRixmgCcd
— Mark Packer (@MarkPacker) January 27, 2023
Speaking with The Associated Press, Mark Packer said that his father Billy had been in a Charlotte hospital for the previous three weeks due to several health problems and eventually suffered kidney failure.
For 34 straight Final Fours, Billy Packer was the lead college basketball analyst, working for both NBC and CBS. He also did ACC games on Raycom, as well. In 1993, Packer won a Sports Emmy for “Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst.”
Billy is the son of Anthony Packer, a longtime college basketball head coach who was with Lehigh for 16 years. (RELATED: Alleged Delivery Guy Walks Right Onto Court During Loyola Chicago-Duquesne Game)
In his playing days in high school, Billy Packer earned Pennsylvania all-state honors, eventually going to Wake Forest University where he was named All-ACC in both 1961 and 1962. Packer also helped the Demon Deacons win three straight ACC regular-season championships and also gave them their first appearance in the Final Four in 1962. That season, Packer also made the all-region team.
RIP to the great Billy Packer. Billy was an All-ACC guard at Wake Forest under Bones McKinney, and later the voice of college basketball in the ACC and nationally. His voice and perspective were synonymous with the game. Packer should be in the Naismith Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/CeXiaIXFFz
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 27, 2023
Sad stuff, man. And I completely agree with Jay Bilas — Billy Packer should be in the Naismith Hall of Fame.