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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Max moving on

Tonight is legendary announcer's home finale

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It doesn't matter if he's broadcasting in Big 12 arenas on the road or in his favorite basketball palace of all, Allen Fieldhouse.

Wherever Max Falkenstien has worked during this, his farewell season at Kansas University, the legendary radio announcer has been asked the same question over and over again.

"People say, 'Max, will you reconsider? A lot of others have changed their minds. Will you reconsider?''' Falkenstien said.

Though flattered by the heart-felt requests, the answer is always the same.

Nope.

Max Falkenstien's 60th season at KU will definitely be his last, tonight's KU-Colorado game the final home contest of his Hall of Fame career.

Why not stick around a tad bit longer?

"You feel you finally come to a point you should hang it up and let somebody else do it," Falkenstien said. "I'll miss it tremendously, but it's the right thing to do. It wouldn't be fair for the person who replaces me."

Actually, Falkenstien, 81, figures to be back in some capacity next season on the KU broadcasts, perhaps hosting a 'Max historical minute' or something of the sort.

photo

Kansas University announcer Max Falkenstien laughs during a conversation with radio cohort Bob Davis, right. Falkenstien, shown Jan. 4 in Allen Fieldhouse before KU's game against Yale, will broadcast his final game in the venerable building tonight.

He'll have a lot to offer as a walking encyclopedia regarding KU sports.

"I was thinking about it the other day. I was astonished that I've broadcast every single men's game played in Allen Fieldhouse and then some," Falkenstien said, noting he's probably just missed a "handful or less" of road games because of illness in 60 seasons.

Falkenstien, who has worked with coaches Phog Allen - "we all called him 'Doc'" - as well as Dick Harp, Ted Owens, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self, has covered oh so many of the tradition-rich program's standout athletes.

"People ask, 'Who is the greatest player you've seen at Kansas?' To dominate a game it would be Wilt. He was so huge," Falkenstien said of Wilt Chamberlain. "For skill, I'd go with Danny (Manning). He could rebound, score, pass. He made everybody better."

As far as favorite games, of course he goes with the national title contests of 1952 and '88. But there are others, too.

"When we beat Indiana with Jacque Vaughn hitting a shot at the buzzer; shutting out Big Country (Oklahoma State's Bryant Reeves) at home to win the Big 12 championship; Archie Marshall's last-second shot (the injured player entering in the final minute to hoist a shot against Oklahoma State); Eddie Sutton walking over to KU's bench to congratulate Kirk (Hinrich) and Nick (Collison) on their Senior Day and when Wilt came back to get his jersey retired, those were some memorable games."

Falkenstien has had some unforgettable moments this season on his farewell tour of the Big 12. He received a standing ovation when introduced at Missouri.

"It was highly unexpected and touching," Falkenstien said. "I think they (fans) are astonished any idiot could do it 60 years good or bad.

"Eddie Sutton sending me a personal message at Stillwater two days after his (car) accident; Kelvin Sampson hand delivering a 'To the Max from your friends at Oklahoma' T-shirt; getting an autographed ball at A&M; Texas Tech sending a bottle of wine. Everybody has been so nice to me."

Tonight, the fans will be nice to Max. He'll be speaking to the crowd at halftime to what will undoubtedly be a thunderous ovation.

"It could be real long," Falkenstien said of his speech.

That would be fine with his partner, Bob Davis, who Falkenstien considers "a great friend. We have never had an argument in 22 years."

"We've had no arguments, but have had a lot of laughs," Davis said.

Ditto for KU coach Bill Self, who has worked with Max for three seasons.

"If you stop and think of all the lives he has touched along the way, people in western Kansas who have or have never seen Max but know his voice the first time they turn on the radio, it will be a great night for him," Self said. "I certainly hope our fans pay homage to him in a way that will make this go down as one of the most memorable nights of his life because he deserves it."

¢ This, that: KU has won 22 straight over the Buffs in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have also won 22 straight final home games dating to the 1983 season. ... Overall, KU is 110-39 versus CU, including a 55-7 mark in Lawrence and 46-5 mark in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won 33 of the last 34 in the series dating to 1991. ... KU defeated the Buffs, 75-63, on Jan. 11 in Boulder, Colo. Christian Moody exploded for 18 points off 8-of-11 shooting. Brandon Rush had 17 points. Chris Copeland had 22 points off 8-of-12 shooting and Richard Roby 15 off 6-of-18 marksmanship for the Buffs. KU held Roby to 1 of 6 three-point shooting. CU made nine threes in 22 tries, KU two of 13. ... The Buffs average a Big 12 best 79.5 ppg.

Comments

mcoan 16 years, 4 months ago

Am I the only guy who never liked Max's inane commentary? Sometimes, he just rambles on with the dumbest comments. I am GLAD he's retiring...it's time.

I remember he used to ask Larry Brown such ridiculous questions that Larry would just walk away. One time, I remember Larry saying, "Max, you don't know what you're talking about."

cellogrl 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan, I think that's nuts. He's a KU legend and anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain wrong. I can't say as I've always been a Larry Brown fan either and any coach who would just walk away from an announcer like that is rude. I personally am on the road a lot and if I didn't have Max and Bob to commentate for me, I don't know what I'd do. It's going to be strange to turn on a KU game next year and not be able to tell right away if it's the game or not by not instantly recognizing the voices. I'LL MISS YOU MAX!!!

milehighhawk 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan:

yes, you are the only guy that never liked Max's commentary.

Max is one of the purest, most genuine guys to be associated with either KU or college hoops - if you can't appreciate him, I truly feel sorry for you.

Max, listening to games won't be the same without you!

pjdeanwag 16 years, 4 months ago

KU Sports,

You should be ashamed that you let a comment like the one above remain on this site. On such a meaningful day like the one today for Max and the University of Kansas, this is just plain disrespectful.

There will never be another legend like the one who calls his last game tonight. Show him the respect he deserves.

Brad Barker 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan: that is sacrilege. I believe you are the only Jayhawk who does not love Max. Max has been the best ambassador and representative of KU. He is a living legend. His voice and presence will be sorely missed by all loyal Jayhawks. I am thankful to hear that he will do a "historical minute" segment or some other small piece next season though. Thank you Max and you make us all proud to be Jayhawks!

jayhawkinlaw 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan, you're rude. It's the man's last night. He has been in the gym for every game played there. You must be a freshman. Show some respect for those who have been there creating the KU legacy you enjoy.

mom_of_three 16 years, 4 months ago

During games, we often turn down the sound on the tv so we can hear Max and Bob call the game. It won't be the same without Max on the radio.

McCoan, if you have watched any of the games on tv, you will see the announcers pay tribute to Max. The rest of us KU fans must not be the only ones who think Max is the greatest. 60 years in broadcasting says something.

scarlets_talk 16 years, 4 months ago

I would take Max over Dick Vitale any day-in fact, I usually mute the TV and turn on the radio to listen, as do my parents and grandparents.

We'll miss you, Max!

djkenn 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan: You should be ashamed of yourself!!

There will never be another Max and KU sports will not be the same without him!!! Before I moved out-of-state I used to mute the tv and turn on Max & Bob. They were much better to listen to than most tv announcers!! I would give anything to be able to do that again! The tears have come to my eyes all day long just thinking that this will be the last time we'll listen to Max from Allen Fieldhouse. Tonight I'm driving 100 miles just so that I can be able to listen to Max call his last game from Allen Fieldhouse. And I'll be wearing my "Thanks Max for the Memories" t-shirt. Max was gracious enough to autograph my shirt, plus 3 others for family members before the game in Lincoln on Feb. 8th. It has been great to see and listen to all those announcers and schools who have given Max the recognition he deserves this year!

Max: you're the best!!!!!!!! Please take care and know that you will be MISSED!!

mom_of_three 16 years, 4 months ago

If you read the article in the KC Star, Max is the first to admit he has said some silly things, but all announcers, tv and radio have said some dumb things.
I remember one morning 12 years ago, my husband and I were walking downtown, and saw Coach Williams and Max in the downtown (no longer there) donut shop. We were as thrilled to meet Max as much as the Coach.
He will always be linked with KU Basketball

Steve Tramba 16 years, 4 months ago

Mcoan,

I think I know what you MEANT to imply, and hope I'm right. If I'm wrong, well, your opinion is truly in the minority by a mile

Max is well past what today's media frenzied driven age would call "productive". However, it is refreshing to hear a perspective that hasn't been altered by the world around him (I don't think he'd ever work at FOX Sports). He may be right there with Harry Caray, Pat Summerall, and a few other announcers that probably (and I stress probably) should've let go a while back. But Max hasn't quite reached that level of "insanity" and knows what he's talking about, even if he rambles on stories (heck, can we get rid of Dave Armstong's puns?? They're way worse than any Max story, ARGH!!).

If Max decided to work for a Westwood One, he could be infinitely more famous than he already is at KU. However his loyalty to KU is stuff future generations will rarely get to experience.

I hope your comment was just made a tad out of context.

Max - I wish you the best, and during my days of the north-end bleachers I'd have given anything to had you in my ears within the roaring of my fellow students!

Daniel Speicher 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan, I don't rightly care what you MEANT to say. Falkenstein's commentary has always been enthusiastic, informative and, most amazing, unbiased. The reason he has garnered so much respect from all Big 12 organizations is because he never gave in to "cheering" the hawks on. At least not by word. By tone, however, there is no doubt that Max is a Jayhawk through and through. I remember the game that the article spoke of when we beat Big Country in his house... Max dang near had a heart attack announcing those last few seconds.

Furthermore, I think it is by far one of the most classless things one can do is to trash on one's career on the final day they are announcing at home. What kind of a person does that? My guess? Someone who hasn't been a Jayhawk for very long... Or, possibly someone who isn't one at all.

KUSports... I would have no problem (nor would anyone else responding to mcoan's sad excuse for a comment, I'm sure) if you deleted my comment and their comments when you go to delete mcoans (which I suggest you do.) That way this entire line of discussion can be wiped clean and Max's history can come to a close (both on this site and in life) with fanfare and memories... Not badmouthing and stupid comments.

--Danny Speicher

hckleberry 16 years, 4 months ago

Max and KU basketball go hand in hand. Best wishes to you my friend, you will be MISSED!!

Rick Aldrich 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan needs to move to k state or missouri land, there no one knows anybody or cares . i pray you don't look at yourself as a true jayhawk fan. your a joke and a wanta be nobody. the biggest difference in yo uand max is in 5 or 10 years he will still be an icon, and you still nobody.

bangaranggerg 16 years, 4 months ago

Hey guys lets jump that suckka! Look over there mcoan... NOW!

1jhawkr4life 16 years, 4 months ago

mcoan, i suspect more people agree with you than will EVER admit it but the reason for this escapes you. It's because he is gone after 60 years of broadcasting kansas university football and basketball games. No matter who you are, or how good or bad you are at your job, if you are there for 60 YEARS!! you deserve not only honor and praise, but very high honor and loads of praise. not a critiquing of your job. I will never forget Max's voice for as long as i live. I hope to hear him sing just one more time, when the jayhawks make yet another final four. beak 'em jayhawks!!!!

mcoan 16 years, 4 months ago

Ouch. Sorry for posting an opinon in a forum full of opinions! I'll think twice before posting an opinion that goes against The Moral Majority. Jeez. I am not ashamed nor feel I need to apologize or whatever for offering an alternative opinion.

My criticism was about Max's skills as a broadcaster, not as a person or representantive of KU. I totally respect Max for staying on for 60 years, and, just being a fan of history, I like that. But that doesn't mean that he automatically says something listeners want to hear. Face it: His comments are just plain wrong a lot of the time. Sometimes I felt embarrassed for him when he'd ask a stupid question. As he aged, the mistakes increased, as happens with us all.

That said, he was a great ambassador for KU's program, and from what I understand, a really nice person. BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS BROADCASTING SKILLS.

bangaranggerg 16 years, 4 months ago

"His comments are just plain wrong a lot of the time"... "Pot, uh ya, this is kettle, I just called to say you're black"

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