Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown against Kansas State just got even more momentous, with Tuesday’s announcement that the 3 p.m. game in Memorial Stadium will be the football finale for beloved broadcaster Bob Davis.
Davis, who joined the Jayhawk Radio Network in 1984, will retire after 32 years as Voice of the Jayhawks following the conclusion of the men’s basketball season.
“Bob Davis,” says Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger, PhD’96, “is an institution in the state of Kansas.”
Davis graduated from Topeka West High School and Washburn University, and in 1968 began his broadcasting career for a TV and radio station in Hays. He spent 16 years broadcasting sports for Fort Hays State University, and was inducted in the school’s Sports Hall of Fame.
After joining the legendary Max Falkenstien, c’47, on KU sports broadcasts, Davis continued to expand his reach across the regional sports spectrum: Among numerous other assignments, Davis did play-by-play calls for Kansas City Royals’ TV and radio broadcasts for 16 seasons and spent 20 years as a morning sports anchor with KMBZ radio in Kansas City.
He was named Kansas Sportscaster of the Year 13 times, and in 1991 the Kansas Association of Broadcasters presented him the Hod Humiston Award for Contributions to Sports Broadcasting.
“The people are what made it amazing,” Davis says. “All the people I’ve been able to get close to—great players, the coaching staffs, administrators. I’m going to miss it a lot. It’s been really fun. I’ve also been able to tack on a little baseball on the other side; that, too, was a dream come true. It’s been a lucky situation for me.”
Despite a long career covering high school, college and professional sports, Davis will always be best known to sports fans as the Voice of the Jayhawks. Among those lucky enough to get to know Davis away from stadiums and arenas, he is treasured for good humor and lively conversation.
“Not only is he good at his job, he’s a terrific person,” says men’s basketball coach Bill Self. “He’s fun and has become a very dear friend. I’m happy for him, from a retirement standpoint, so maybe he can enjoy those grandkids a little bit more, which I know is important for him and Linda. But certainly he will be missed.”
Says football coach David Beaty, “Bob, along with Max Falkenstien, is truly a living historian of Kansas athletics and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work alongside him this year. Bob has one of the most recognizable voices in all of sports, a voice that has captured some of the greatest moments in Kansas athletics history. His voice is synonymous with KU and makes you feel great about being a Jayhawk.”
A nationwide search for Davis’ successor will begin next spring. Interested candidates should direct inquiries to Chris Ferris of IMG College at Chris.Ferris@img.com.