Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Jayhawks to seek new voice


Whoever takes over for Max Falkenstien as the next "Voice of the Jayhawks" better know one thing, Jim Marchiony says.

He won't be Max Falkenstien.

"We'll find somebody that knows KU, but you can't - and we will stress that to this person as well - you can't come in here thinking you can replace Max," said Marchiony, an associate athletics director at Kansas University. "Nobody can do that."

Marchiony is among a small group of officials from Kansas Athletics Inc. and ESPN Plus who will be determining who sits behind the microphone used by Falkenstien since March 18, 1946, when the radio announcer called his first game.

Now an estimated 2,400 games later, Falkenstien is stepping down at the end of the basketball season.

ESPN Plus runs the Jayhawk Radio Network, which carries KU games on more than 30 radio stations, Sirius Satellite Radio and the Internet, and company officials will be compiling and whittling a list of job contenders. Marchiony said the job likely would be split into two posts: one for football and one for basketball.

While speculation has swirled about who might get the job - former KU basketball players Chris Piper and Greg Gurley currently do TV work, and former KU lineman David Lawrence already is on the broadcast team, doing sideline reports and having subbed for Falkenstien last football season - officials say they will wait until April to discuss the process and potential prospects.

"We've got plenty of time," said Angela Haar, general manager for ESPN Plus, which is paying $40 million over seven years to handle KU's radio, TV and marketing programs. "It's big shoes to fill. We want to make sure we've got someone who is certainly qualified and will be a good partner for Bob Davis."

Piper, who played for KU's 1988 national championship basketball team, acknowledged that he would be interested in discussing the job with KU officials. He has been working for the past 15 years as a basketball analyst on TV.

"That's really as high-profile a radio job as you're going to have in the United States, so I've got to imagine a lot of people would like to be involved," Piper said.


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