WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — In 1962, Wake Forest advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four for the first and, to date, only time.
They were led by guard Billy Packer, writes Wake Forest University, as they mourn the passing of the former WFU player and longtime college basketball announcer, who died at the age of 82 on Thursday.
Wake Forest University is mourning Packer’s death, who graduated from the university with a degree in economics.
Packer attended Wake Forest from 1958 to 1962 and was the team captain for his final season. He led Wake to two Atlantic Coast Conference titles in ’61 and ’62.
After he graduated, he worked as an assistant coach at Wake Forest from 1966-70 and was “instrumental in the recruitment of Charlie Davis, who went on to become the first black ACC Player of the Year in 1971.”
His long career broadcasting began in 1972. He went on to cover every NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship from 1975 to 2008. He won a Sports Emmy Award in 1993.
After his retirement in 2008, he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Billy Packer was a tremendous player at Wake Forest, leading the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962. Growing up in the Midwest during the 70’s and 80’s, Billy Packer was the first person I associated Wake Forest basketball with as he became one of the most prominent voices in college basketball on television. For 34-straight years, from John Wooden’s last National Championship in 1975, to a Kansas overtime win over Memphis in 2008, I watched every National Championship game he broadcasted. He had one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of broadcast sports television. Everyone in the Demon Deacon family mourns his passing and we send our heartfelt condolences to Mark and the entire Packer family,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Forbes said.
“Billy Packer’s impact on the game of college basketball spans well beyond the city of Winston-Salem and the incredible career he had on the court for the Demon Deacons. To countless people, including me, who grew up watching ACC basketball on the old Raycom / Jefferson-Pilot network, Billy Packer’s presence and voice is synonymous with the passion of Tobacco Road basketball and the Big Four. He set the standard of excellence for a national color analyst and truly helped turn the Final Four into one of the most popular events in the world. On behalf of the entire Wake Forest community, our thoughts and prayers are with Liz, Mark, Brandt, the entire Packer family and the friends who are grieving today,” Director of Athletics John Currie said.