On May 5, 2011 at approximately 1:30 p.m., March Madness passed away due to heart disease. It was 72-years-old. I say this because Gus Johnson, the announcer we know and love, did not have his contract renewed by CBS and will be leaving the network to pursue other opportunities. His enthusiastic play-by-play was a staple of the NCAA Tournament, with fans tuning in to watch Gus call close games.
And I am heartbroken.
But from darkness and despair rises hope. From the Sports Illustrated story announcing Gus' exit at CBS:
Industry sources said Johnson has spoken with Fox Sports about a role in its college football coverage. Fox Sports (which has a 49 percent ownership share in the Big Ten Network) recently upped its inventory of college football as part of the 12-year, $3 billion contract between the Pac-10 (soon to be the Pac-12) and ESPN and Fox.
Please make this happen, Larry Scott and FOX. In fact, make Gus Johnson the flagship announcer for the Pac-12 Network. You want instant viewership? Gus Johnson is your man. People tune-in simply to hear the sultry sounds of Gus. He draws viewers.
While I'm saddened Gus won't be calling NCAA Tournament games in the future, I can only hope he'll be associated with the Pac-12 in a large capacity. Make it happen, Larry. Make Gus a part of my daily life.