Verne Lundquist Wasn't Thrilled About Getting "SEC On CBS" Gig

October 9, 2018
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For almost two decades, Verne Lundquist was the voice of the SEC – and to think, it almost never happened.

“The SEC was not my choice,” Lundquist said on The DA Show. “I kept hearing rumors that Dick Enberg was not happy at NBC after 30 years, a three-time Hall of Fame career. I was told, ‘Be aware because Dick is reaching out to CBS.’ I said, ‘He would never come over here unless he was the No. 1 guy, right?’ We had a No. 1 guy, and it was Jim Nantz.”

Finally, Lundquist called CBS Chairman Sean McManus to try to get more information.

“He said, ‘It would never happen. Dick is too high-profile and he’s too expensive. I just can’t see that happening,’” Lundquist recalled. “And then he paused and said, ‘Now, in the unlikely event that we were to sign Dick Enberg, how would you feel about doing the Southeastern Conference?’”

Lundquist said “the appropriate things” and hung up. Then he looked at his wife, Nancy.

“I said, ‘Honey, pack your bags for Tuscaloosa,’” Lundquist said. “I was never rebellious, but I was not happy about it.”

In Lundquist’s first SEC game, though, he watched Gators quarterback Jesse Palmer lead Florida to a thrilling 27-23 win at Tennessee, finding wideout Jabar Gaffney for the game-winning score in the final seconds.

Lundquist was hooked.

“The BCS helped because it made every game important in every part of the country, and then the SEC won seven straight national championships,” he said. “So all of a sudden, we’re in the stratosphere.”

To learn more about Lundquist’s illustrious career, check out his new book, “Play by Play: Calling the Wildest Games in Sports–From SEC Football to College Basketball, The Masters, and More,” which chronicles some of his most iconic moments in the booth.