The news was first reported in Richard Deitsch's SI media column and later confirmed by NBC. Dan HIcks is in as Notre Dame play by play man. Tom Hammond is out after calling Fighting Irish games since 1992. Hicks is NBC's lead golf announcer and has also drawn acclaim for his calls of Olympic swimming during the summer games. In the past couple years, he's drawn a few football assignments for the peacock including Notre Dame football, the Pro Bowl, and this winter, an NFL Divisional Round playoff game.
Here's what Hicks told Deitsch…
"I think everyone at NBC had an inkling I was interested in getting back to football and when this opportunity came up, it was something I jumped at," Hicks said. "It's been great to make a name for myself at NBC, so to speak, with golf and the Olympics. But I'm really excited to carve another niche. For a play-by-play guy, the opportunity to call Notre Dame on a regular basis, an iconic brand, an iconic team, an iconic institution, was exciting."
Hicks is succeeding Hammond, but it looks like the veteran broadcaster will still be with NBC as Deitch also says he's signed a multi-year contract extension. This appears to be the rare instance of a network giving an announcer a promotion at the expense of someone who has worked at the network for a long time. Hicks is younger than Hammond and at the age of 50 (18 years younger than Hammond), you could argue he still has a good decade plus of his prime behind the mic and could have a lenghty run as the voice of Notre Dame football.
More importantly though, he's long been one of the most underrated announcers in sports. His work during the Olympics has been tremendous and he doesn't get the credit he deserves sitting next to Johnny Miller leading NBC's golf coverage. Hicks certainy deserves the promotion to one of NBC's top sports properties, and it's good to see a talented announcer be able to move up in the notoriously status quo world of network broadcast booths.