Ian Eagle Bill Raftery Grant Hill Credit: CBS Sports

Ian Eagle will call his first NCAA championship game next weekend in Phoenix, and his peers across the sports media industry are thrilled for him.

Eagle is not only accomplished but also very clearly well-liked among his counterparts who are rooting for him to succeed in his new role. A new profile of Eagle in The Ringer features broadcaster after broadcaster celebrating Eagle’s move to the No. 1 booth for the tourney.

“It was just a matter of time, and everybody in the business knew that. All of us,” ESPN and MSG Network play-by-play legend told Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. “You could do research on this story for the next year, and you won’t find somebody that doesn’t love the guy.”

Still, Eagle finds it hard to take the praise.

“I’m a deflector by nature,” he told Curtis.

The profile also features great details on Eagle’s upbringing and how he found his comfort zone in entertainment at a young age. But it takes much more than being at ease as a performer to become beloved as a broadcaster.

“He’s the play-by-play announcer’s play-by-play announcer,” Jason Benetti told Curtis. “But he’s also the comedic play-by-play announcer’s play-by-play announcer. And he’s the hardworking play-by-play announcer’s play-by-play announcer.”

Earlier this week on The Dan Patrick Show, Eagle explained how much of his style was derived from his love of the legendary Marv Albert. Eagle has clearly been able to forge his own approach that mixes humor, sarcasm and energy.

TNT Sports NBA game analyst Reggie Miller, who calls games with Eagle for the network, called him “the Michael Scott of broadcasting,” in reference to the doofus Office protagonist.

“If you don’t get it, it’s fine,” Orioles broadcaster Kevin Brown said. “If you do get it, you feel like you’re part of a special club.”

Eagle is known just as much for his humility as his sense of humor:

“Ian was the first play-by-play guy who really took me under his wing and tried to teach me,” Stan Van Gundy of TNT Sports said.

“If you can’t get along with Ian Eagle, something’s wrong with you,” YES Network game analyst Sarah Kustok agreed.

“He’s never coveted any job—and I bear witness to it,” Eagle’s NCAA title game partner Bill Raftery summarized.

Just as last year’s tournament was a retirement tour for Kevin Harlan, this year’s Final Four will be a celebration of Eagle rising to the top job at age 55. While the honor of presiding over one of the biggest sports events of the year is clearly exciting for him, it may be even more exciting for the colleagues who have learned to love and appreciate him over his two-plus decades in the business.

Eagle will call the NCAA men’s Final Four with Raftery and Grant Hill on CBS on the weekend of April 5 in Phoenix.

[The Ringer]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.