bender gary
Gary Bender
  • Nationally known broadcaster for over thirty years.
  • Broadcast college football, college basketball, professional football, pro basketball, pro baseball, and the Winter Olympics.
  • Called one of basketball’s greatest games of all time: NC State and Jim Valvano upset Houston’s “Phi Slama Jamma” in 1983 NCAA Tournament Final.
Bender, Gary
Inducted 2008

Born: September 1, 1940 - Norton, Kansas

Graduated: Ulysses H.S., 1958; Wichita State University, 1962; MD - University of Kansas, 1964

Overview

Gary Nedrow Bender grew up on a farm near Ulysses, Kansas, where he started broadcasting games on a tractor. It was that early interest that led Bender on a career that saw him become one of the nation's most respected sports broadcasters.

College Athletics & Broadcasting

Bender was an all-state football player at Ulysses High School and earned a scholarship to Wichita State University.  He received his master's degree from the University of Kansas and was the radio voice of the Jayhawks from 1967-70.  Bender was the basketball and football announcer for the University of Wisconsin as well as the voice of the Green Bay Packers from 1970-75.

Career Highlights

Bender began his network career in 1975 with CBS and served as play-by-play announcer for the National Football League, National Basketball Association, college football and college basketball. Bender broadcast the NCAA Tournament's Final Four from 1982-84, which included the historic North Carolina State upset of Houston in 1983.  Bender joined ABC in 1987 as the play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Baseball and also worked college football and basketball, and the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.  In 1991, Bender joined Turner Sports to serve as the lead announcer for Sunday Night Football and the NBA.  Bender was named the broadcaster for the NBA's Phoenix Suns in 1992 and was also the voice of the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams of the NFL.

 

Click here to see Gary's Kansas Sports Hall of Fame induction speech