This fall, CBS play-by-play man Brad Nessler has an unenviable task: He has to replace beloved announcer Verne Lundquist as the voice of the network’s SEC football coverage.
But Nessler seems to have the right attitude about taking over for a legend. When asked by the AP about replacing Lundquist, known affectionately as Uncle Verne, he had a quip at the ready.
“You know you can’t be Uncle Verne, right?” Nessler said Tuesday at the CBS offices in Manhattan. “Maybe I’ll be Cousin Ness or something?”
Nessler has been preparing to succeed Lundquist for quite a while. It was more than a year ago—May 2016—when CBS announced that Lundquist would step down after then 2016 season, with Nessler coming over from ESPN to replace him. Since then, Nessler has been the SEC-voice-in-waiting, more or less killing time until TCU at Arkansas on Sept. 9.
Nessler has a pretty high approval rating among college sports fans, so he should slip into his new role without too much trouble. It also helps that he’ll be working with a color commentator, Gary Danielson, with whom he partnered in the 1990s. In the AP piece, Danielson points out both similarities and differences between Nessler and Lundquist:
“If you told me pick a guy who’s most like Verne’s style out there, I’d choose Brad even if I didn’t know him,” Danielson said. “He’s a minimalist as a broadcaster.”
“I think it’ll be a little different,” Danielson said about working with Nessler instead of Lundquist. “Brad will be a little more aggressive in seeking out information, but I think both styles are great.”
It’s unlikely that Nessler will ever reach the kind of cult-hero status that Uncle Verne achieved, but given his pedigree and his generally straight-forward, uncontroversial style, it seems a safe bet that “Cousin Ness” will acquit himself just fine come this fall. And then at some distant time down the road, maybe everyone will stop asking him about his predecessor.