Gus Johnson parts ways with CBS
Play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson and CBS could not agree on a new contract
Johnson was well known for his enthusiastic calls of the NCAA tournament
Johnson is a broadcaster with the Big Ten Network; he's had talks with Fox Sports
The patron saint of March Madness buzzer-beaters will not be calling the NCAA tournament next year.
SI.com has learned that CBS Sports recently parted ways with Gus Johnson, a play-by-play mainstay on its college basketball coverage for 16 years, after the two sides could not agree on a new deal. Johnson has also worked as a play-by-play voice for the network's NFL coverage since 1998.
Johnson's animated style and signature calls at the conclusion of tournament games earned him cult status among younger college basketball fans. During his decade and a half with CBS, Johnson also called college football, track and field, boxing and the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Johnson's marketing agent, Christian Gesue, initially declined to comment. Contacted again late Thursday night, Gesue said Johnson's departure from CBS was not official. He would not elaborate further.
Johnson is scheduled to work Showtime's pay-per-view coverage of Saturday's Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight. He has called college basketball for the Big Ten Network for the past two years.
The announcer was one of the candidates for the NFL Network's play-by-play job on its eight-game Thursday night package. The network announced today that longtime ESPN announcer Brad Nessler has landed the assignment.
Industry sources said Johnson has spoken with Fox Sports about a role in its college football coverage. Fox Sports (which has a 49 percent ownership share in the Big Ten Network) recently upped its inventory of college football as part of the 12-year, $3 billion contract between the Pac-10 (soon to be the Pac-12) and ESPN and Fox. The two networks will carry a combined 44 regular-season football games on ESPN and Fox broadcast or national cable networks, along with 68 men's basketball games. They will alternate televising the Pac-12 football championship game and the men's basketball tournament.
SI Now Live Friday December 20, 2013
SI Now: Olympians on Liberty Mutual, gearing up for Sochi