Verne Lundquist will step down as the voice of the SEC on CBS after the 2016 season and will be replaced by Brad Nessler, CBS announced Tuesday. The movements have been known for a while now, leaked in part by Nick Saban, but the official succession plan was not known until now.
CBS's Saturday afternoon SEC package has been the highest-rated college football broadcast window for years now.
“Being a part of the SEC on CBS since 2000 has been the most significant assignment I’ve been given in my more than five decades in this business,” said Lundquist in a statement. “Now, it’s time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years. In 2017, I’ll happily step aside from college football and welcome Brad to the booth. I’ve known Brad for more than 30 years and have always admired his work ethic and his on-air presence. He shares the same passion for college football that I do. The SEC ON CBS is in great hands. Brad and Gary will form a great partnership in the years ahead.”
Lundquist has been with CBS for three decades (continuously since 1998) and called anything and everything for the network, ranging from the NFL, the NCAA Tournament and The Masters to competitive archery. Overall, Lundquist has been in broadcasting for 53 years. He is a recipient of the Emmy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award for sports.
“Verne has set the standard for college football broadcasting,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said. “Together with Gary Danielson he has played a key role in making the SEC ON CBS the highest-rated college football package in America. After an incredible 17 years, he will be handing the reigns off to Brad, who in his own right is highly acclaimed and respected as one of the premier play-by-play broadcasters in the business. I am very pleased that Verne will still have a prominent role in our college basketball and major championship golf coverage. We are fortunate to have one more football season to appreciate Verne’s one-of-a-kind storytelling as we pave the way for a seamless and smooth transition to Brad.”
While Nessler will serve as a perfect handoff from Lundquist, those Saturday afternoon games just won't be the same without Uncle Verne.