(Jim Nantz – Photo by Jason Schott)
Jim Nantz will be the lead announcer for CBS and Turner Sports’ coverage of the NCAA Tournament, and will be working with Bill Raftery and Grant Hill.
I caught up with Nantz recently, and we discussed Villanova’s buzzer-beater to win the championship last year, the retirement of his former CBS colleague Brent Musburger, the Super Bowl, and the future of golfer Tiger Woods.
Jason Schott: A year later, has it sunk in yet that you finally got to call a buzzer-beater to win a national championship?
Jim Nantz: Just grateful that I finally got a buzzer-beater in the championship game. I had them in other games in the tournament, but not at the end, and that’s really sweet. I got asked that earlier (at March Madness Media Day), did it bother you through the years? It didn’t bother me, been a blessing to call the tournament, but yeah that was something to be able to have as a special memory in my career and the fact it happened in Houston made it extra sweet.
JS: Houston is a city that has a lot of meaning in your life.
JN: It did. I went to school there, my career started there, and it was already a very special week. The NCAA honored me on Saturday between games (of the Final Four) for the 25th anniversary of my first play-by-play call at a Final Four. It was my 26th (call), but my 25th anniversary, so it was a lot of neat things leading up to that final moment. Had it ended on the Marcus Paige shot, that would have been good enough on its own because that was a miracle shot in some ways, he was parallel to the floor and he made it.
JS: What are your thoughts on Brent Musburger retiring?
JN: I hate to see him retire. He was very instrumental early in my career. I was his understudy for the first six years of my career. I did a lot of the events that Brent kind of handed off as he was kind of reforming his network obligations. He was always very generous. Past CBS, he was very generous to me. He is still as sharp as ever.
JS: What did you think of the Super Bowl this year?
JN: It was incredible. I knew enough, having covered the Patriots as often as I have, to not think that it was over, but I still in some ways am in a little bit of disbelief. It would be hard for anybody to ever find a script that will measure up to them.
JS: What are your thoughts on the future of Tiger Woods?
JN: I’ve guessed on this so many times and been wrong. I’m not going to say it’s over until he tells somebody that he’s not going to play again. He was trying to come back as recently as a month ago, and then the back issues flared up again. I would love to think he’s going to be at Augusta here in a few weeks (for The Masters), but it looks pretty problematic right now because of these spasms.