Play By Play guys like Bill Marcroft

I was curious about the greats of Utah from a play-by-play perspective. I’ve known of Bill Marcroft but never heard any of his old calls. I looked on Youtube and not really anything there. I once worked in Sports Radio and worked with the UK Radio Network back in the day so my love of listening to a Home team Play-by-play has it where I always look for the local call. I’d love to hear the Ute broadcast of the Sugar Bowl against us.

I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when I started thinking of how I was raised in Los Angeles with Dick Enberg, Vin Scully, and Chick Hearn. Then when I moved to Kentucky I got to hear guys like Caywood Ledford for UK, Jack Buck for the St. Louis Cardinals, and Marty Brennaman for the Reds. Then this week SEC Network is putting out a new show about the play by play guys:

SO, I’m interested in hearing old BYU vs Utah games and the bowl game against Alabama and Pitt. Where can someone find those? I just think the play-by-play broadcast is so important to be able to pull.

FWIW, the GOAT will always be this man and it wasn’t the local broadcast:

I’ve always wanted to hear Wild Bill’s call of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl superimposed over the TV picture. I’m not certain they would have matched up well, but in many ways it was part of his charm that there were lots of, “Check it’s,” in his calls. That was his last game as the Ute football play by play guy. I’ve suspected he was beyond belief that he got to go out on a high like that.

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Who did Play by Play for the Alabama game. I’d love to see see of those old broadcasts on this site.

A guy named Matt Thomas. His tag line for scores was, “ Start playing ‘Utah Man!’” He said that a lot on Jan. 2, 2009. He only was the voice for a few years and got bumped out of his job as a result of a power play with the current guy.

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I grew up listening to Marcroft, on the evening tv news, literally from his early days in the early 60’s when I was a very young boy.

Some of my favorite memories are of the (undeserved) abuse he took at the hands of Rick Majerus in the 90’s in the post game basketball interviews, when Rick would go from “stream-of-consciousness-mode” describing the recently concluded game (which I treasured), to “abusing Marcroft mode”, which always ended up getting tedious. I never had ANY sympathy, when Big Rick directed those harsh attitudes toward Kinihan, or Monson - they always asked questions so stupid they deserved (most of) what they got.

My favorite (true) story of a personal encounter with Bill Marcroft:

In about 1979, when working my first post high school job in the motion picture distribution business, I was playing the Rose Park Golf Course, with my boss (a fiery Irish Catholic in his mid 60’s) when Marcroft’s group held us up for more than 15 minutes (in those days - a sin), on something like the 4th hole. My boss eventually drove the golf cart, in a fit of anger, with me onboard, forward to confront “that phony TV star with the bad rug”, and his group, about the delay. Marcroft was equally as belligerent, and I ended up stopping a big fight.

It’s always been a great story to tell to folks who remember either one of them, and it’s frightening to consider that in the todays world, someone might have been shot.

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Matt Thomas was the guy for the 2005 season immediately after Marcroft left. But he was only here for a year. For the 2008 season, the play-by-play guy was Mike Lageschulte. I think he still works for the U in some capacity.

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Oh, you’re right! My bad. Thanks for the correction.

In my world that’s still a sin.

My favorite Marcroft “episode” was the undefeated 2004 season, at Wyoming, when half the stadium power went out (as things go in Laramie). After about 45 minutes Channel 4 started playing a Harry Potter movie, and then Meyer & Wyoming’s coach came to an agreement with the officials to get the game going again with half the lighting.

Channel 4 was contractually obligated to broadcast the whole Harry Potter movie, and word got back to Marcroft in Laramie that Ute fans were getting stiffed on the telecast. So… Marcroft acknowledged the problem, and gave all the listeners Sports Director at Channel 4 Wesley Ruff’s phone #, in case anyone wanted to “provide feedback”.

People were driving to the station, pounding on the front doors, Marcroft unleashed a tsunami of voice mails to Wesley Ruff, who started the late news sports section with “I just want everyone to know that my parents are in fact married… to each other…” His face was red, it was awesome.

Marcroft used to make my dad scream at the TV, he was terrible on play-by-play, but I’ll always remember him fondly just because of what he did on the Wyoming game in '04.

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Classic Marcroft play-by-play:

He’s at the 50… the 40… the 30!.. the 20!.. DOWN on the 42 yard line!

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I always thought Marcroft was a better basketball play-by-play guy.

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Didn’t help that once power was on enough to broadcast the game, viewers in other parts of the country (where they hadn’t started the movie) started getting the game while Utah viewers were treated to the world of Hogwarts (they aired the parts of the game they could after the movie) and listened to Bill on Kall 700. We had perhaps the largest number of people ever seen in this site’s chatroom that night.

I remember the year he got infatuated with the word “dive” to describe a run up the middle. “Eddie Johnson dives for a gain of 8!”

My dad: “My God, Marcroft, they’re not using trampolines! What the hell is wrong with you?”

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My favorite Marcroft memory was a coaches show the year Majerus started. They were giving away gymnastics tickets for some drawing and Rick said, we can do better than that and Marcroft said - the gymnastics team has better attendance than the bball team.

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One of my favorite calls of his was in the 1991 Utah–Wyoming football game in Laramie. Utah hadn’t won there since 1972, by the way, and ended up with a 57-42 victory. Anyway, at some point in the game, Keith Williams had a short run. Marcroft said, “K-Dub crawls to the 30 (or wherever).” I wondered how he got away with advancing the ball while crawling.

This is straight cocaine for me. I love awful and great play-by-play stories.

I wish someone had video or audio recordings.

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I suspect that recordings exist, somewhere. I just couldn’t suggest where to start except for talking to KALL, where Marcroft did the radio schtick.

I do believe that he’s the one who started the whole Utah by 5, in reference to who’s going to win whatever sporting contest Utah was involved in at the time.

It would be cool to have some stuff on this site like that. I also, like how one of the Kentucky sites does this: Kentucky's Record versus Utah

Also, Kentucky-Utah - Series History

Making it a great resource for fandom.

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Fellow media personality Tom Barberi started the Utah by 5 phrase.

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When it comes to play by play hilarity, hard to beat Harry Caray.

Cubs on the road, up 1 in the bottom of the 9th, runner on base.

“And it’s well hit to center, it’s… it’s… gone. Ah ■■■■!”