At Home in Houston: a Final, Final Four Shining Moment for Superstar Sportscaster Jim Nantz

Jim Nantz and fellow Houston Alum Jim Perry from Michigan with a glass of The Calling – Nantz’s wine. Photo Credit: Harrison Shiels

Jim Nantz and fellow Houston Alum Jim Perry from Michigan with a glass of The Calling – Nantz’s wine. Photo Credit: Harrison Shiels

CBS Sportscaster Jim Nantz, the voice of the NCAA Final Four, the Masters Tournament, and the NFL’s Super Bowl, also travels to 43 weeks’ worth of “regular season” sporting events across America each year.

Nantz, a husband and father of three, broadcasts at the top level, produces The Calling wine label and creates the Vineyard Vines Jim Nantz apparel line in addition to performing speaking engagements. He even travels to put his feet up (sort of) at one of his family homes in Nashville, Pebble Beach and now Cabo, Mexico with his wife Courtney and well-traveled children young Finley, Jameson, plus his betrothed daughter Caroline, a Southern Cal alum.

He was in Los Angeles to call the PGA Tour event at Riviera CC in February and was staying at the historic Beverly Wilshire – a Four Seasons Hotel at the top of glittering Rodeo Drive. I caught up with him there and a few blocks away at Nate-n-Al’s, the deli where he once had breakfast with another member of broadcasting royalty Larry King. The late CNN talk monarch who was a regular there. Nantz was on his way to meet another television star.

“I am going to Bel-Air Country Club to play golf with Al Michaels. Al plays every single day there; he basically lives there. I revere the man. He’s had a stand-alone career,” said Nantz of Michaels, the commentator who has provided live commentary for everything from the US Olympic hockey team’s gold medal win at Lake Placid to O.J. Simpson’s “white bronco” police chase. “Al is in his mid-70’s but he’s got all the energy in the world. He looks great and sounds great. I consider him one of my closest friends in the entire business.”

Nantz also lauded his enthusiastic NFL broadcast partner, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. “I work with great people and there’s not a better guy to be with than Tony Romo.”  

Nantz said 2023 is the final time he will travel the “road to the Final Four” to call the NCAA Tournament games and championship. It’s a trip he’s taken for 37 years as host and then a play-by-play voice, calling 15 games in 23 days in multiple cities.

“I am just trying to get a little time back with my family,” Nantz explained over eggs and blackened toast near Hollywood. “This is exactly the way I scripted out my ‘exit – stage right’ to close my college basketball career. The championship game is in Houston, where I went to school. It was my gateway city into the broadcasting industry.”

Nantz was the University of Houston student public address announcer for Cougar basketball games and hosted Coach Guy Lewis’ television show. Michigan native Jim Perry, a Nantz classmate who played hoops for the Cougars, will be back in Houston… by Jim’s side. (“Always by my Side” is the title of Nantz’s brilliant autobiographical book about his late father’s love and support. His book recalls Nantz’s other father figure – the late President George HW Bush – who lived half of the year in…Houston.)

“Wouldn’t it be something if my last basketball call was a national championship for the program that gave me my entrance into the business? My alma mater could win that game!”

That “shining moment” (the broadcast’s closing musical montage video narrated by Nantz) will give way to an annual curtain call for Nantz each year. The NCAA and CBS will bring him back annually to present the championship trophy. “Next year I will hang around the edges and bring my kids to Phoenix for the weekend. I’ll present the trophy on Monday night and head straight to Augusta to call the Masters Tournament,” he explained.  

Nantz starts each of his broadcasts with his signature greeting, “Hello, Friends.” He told me he just signed a new long-term deal with CBS so it will be a long time before he says “goodbye” to broadcasting.

“I’ve still got golf and the NFL to do for years and years to come,” he insisted. “It’s all a blessing. I’m surrounded by a lot of great friends at CBS and people I have met along the way, like you, who are treasured friends.”

If you’re going to the Final Four or Houston, just as in Beverly Hills, which actually has two Four Seasons properties, Houston’s Four Seasons Hotel is a social landmark. The iconic hotel opened in 1982—the year Nantz left Houston to take on the rest of the broadcasting world.


Contact Michael Patrick Shiels at  His radio program may be found at MiBigShow.comor weekday mornings from 9-noon on WJIM AM 1240


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