This Saturday’s Cougar football game will sound a bit different to long-time Washington State fans.
After 520 games called, veteran WSU play-by-play announcer Bob Robertson has handed over the play-by-play duties to fellow Cougar football and basketball announcer Bud Nameck.
Robertson, who has been doing WSU football’s play-by-play for 46 years tells KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that last season, at age 84, he started feeling his age a little, and thought it might be time to retire.
“My approach to play-by-play is to stand up so you can emote and get the thing out with some drive and excitement. I do the play-by-play broadcasting with about the same passion as the middle linebacker is using down on the field. It’s a physical thing with me. I work at it,” said Robertson.
“Last year, about halfway through the season, instead of standing up, I would find myself looking around for somewhere to sit during the second quarter or half time. And it was more and more difficult to keep up that enthusiasm over the crowds of 60,000 to 80,000 people making noise.”
He thought about staging a grand exit at the end of last season.
“I had thoughts of maybe doing a dramatic announcement at the end of the Apple Cup. Get down to the end of the game and at sign off time say, ‘Hey folks, it’s been great. I love you all. Go Cougs. I’ll see you somewhere in retirement.’ But the game finished up in such a way that I had no thoughts at all of that at the end of the Apple Cup game last year.”
Instead, in the off-season, he came to a quiet agreement with WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos about what his future would be.
“I talked about getting out of it. He said he didn’t want me to go. He agreed with what I was saying about the play-by-play thing, but he didn’t want me to leave the program altogether,” said Robertson. “So over the months that followed, we worked out a kind of compromise on the whole thing, and figured out a system where I would not have to do the play-by-play, and at the same time I would not have to leave the program.”
Robertson will be the host of the pre-game, half-time, and post-game shows. KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson congratulated him on getting such a stellar position.
“I’ll tell you as the Seahawks pre- and post-game host, there is no role more important than that, Bob,” said Dori.
“I agree,” said Robertson, who said he’s looking forward to Saturday.
It sounds like WSU is looking forward to his continued presence, as well.
“The ultimate goal is to have him in the booth for many years to come,” said Athletic Director Moos, in a statement.