The 2023 NCAA Tournament marks the end of an era with Jim Nantz’s 32nd and final appearance as March Madness’s lead TV play-by-play voice for the Final Four and national championship game. Stepping into those big shoes will be Ian Eagle, who has been with CBS since 1998 and is regarded as one of the top play-by-play broadcasters out there, especially by audiences who know his work from college basketball, the NFL, and Brooklyn Nets games.
Eagle appeared on the One Shining Podcast with Tate Frazier earlier this week and discussed the eventual succession that’s taking place next year along with how honored he is to be the one to replace Nantz.
“I recognize the responsibility that comes with it. Jim has done it for 30+ years. That is unprecedented, it will be unmatched, it is unparalleled,” said Eagle. “He has been associated with this event for so long and it has been such a huge part of his life. The way I viewed it is I’m succeeding him in this position and I think that’s ultimately what CBS/Turner Sports viewed it as, a succession plan for what they were going to do in the future.”
Eagle added that he doesn’t plan to make any changes to his broadcasting style even though he’ll be calling games on college basketball’s biggest stage.
“The reality for me, certainly not minimizing it, but it’s an extra weekend of my life,” said Eagle. “It’s 3 more basketball games. I’ve literally called thousands of games in my career between college basketball and the NBA. The way I’m going to attack it is to do the game the way that I always do the game. Bring energy, bring excitement, bring information, bring entertainment value, bond with your teammates, make everyone comfortable, then get out of the way.”
However, that doesn’t mean that he undervalues the excitement that comes with calling the final weekend of March Madness.
“What separates it is the names change every single year, but we are fascinated by the matchups, the cinderella, and the intensity level,” said Eagle. “This is the highest level of basketball that the majority of the participants will ever be a part of and you feel that. You feel how much it means to them, you feel the highs, you feel the lows, and the concentrated passion is what is coursing through every site that you work no matter what round it is, no matter who is participating.”
For his part, Nantz previously said that he is thrilled for Eagle to be the one to step into his shoes.
“It’s his time,” Nantz said in October. “I will support him 1,000 percent. He doesn’t need my support. But I’m absolutely thrilled for him. He’s a great teammate. He’s been right in the middle of this NCAA Tournament for a long, long time. So he’s not dropping in from outside, I mean he’s going to be working an extra weekend. It happens to be the big one. And he is definitely capable and ready and will excel and he’ll take it to all new heights.”