Vinegary old fossil Billy Packer, hater of mid-majors and master of being crusty, is being let go by CBS after 34 years of Final Four cantankerousness. That and pronouncing games as over in the first half, as he did this year with North Carolina and Kansas.
CBS has decided to replace Packer, 68, with studio analyst Clark Kellogg on its lead announcing team. Packer had a serious, no-nonsense style — the antithesis of the approach taken by ESPN's Dick Vitale, the other announcer most often associated with the sport.
But Packer sometimes became embroiled in controversy. In 1996, he called then-Georgetown guard Allen Iverson ''a tough monkey'' but later apologized and said he was trying to praise Iverson's relentless play.
If you're having trouble letting the old coot old to pasture, watch a few of these touching clips and you'll be saddened it was just a firing and not a diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor. You know, not one that would necessarily kill him, but ruin his vocalization and auditory skills. Don't want to be cruel or anything.