Tony Roberts, legendary Notre Dame football radio broadcaster, dead at age 94

August 29, 2023

The legendary radio broadcaster of an equally legendary major college football program, who entertained and informed fans for decades, has passed away.

Tony Roberts, long considered the voice of Notre Dame football on the radio, was revealed on Saturday to have died at the age of 94, according to the Fighting Irish Wire.

Roberts, who provided play-by-play calls for the Fighting Irish from 1980 to 2005, was honored for his contributions as a sports radio broadcaster with an induction into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2016.

The voice of Notre Dame football has passed

According to Saturday Road, the news of the death of Roberts was first shared by Scott Strasemeier, the senior associate athletic director for sports information at the U.S. Naval Academy, who had been personal friends with Roberts for several decades.

"I am saddened to hear from his daughter Tracey the passing of HOF broadcaster Tony Roberts," Strasemeier tweeted early Saturday morning.

"Roberts is best-known as the voice of Notre Dame Football, but he also called Navy football early in his career and we have been friends for more than 30 years. RIP to a legend," he added.

Hall of Fame inductee

According to the Radio Hall of Fame, which inducted Roberts in 2016, the legendary broadcaster began his career in radio with a local station in Iowa in 1957 but then moved to Illinois in 1958 and focused his career on sportscasting, including calling college football and high school basketball games.

He then moved to Indiana in 1960 and spent the next decade in that state with a couple of different radio stations providing play-by-play coverage of everything ranging from Little League baseball to various high school and college sports, including the University of Indiana and Valparaiso.

It was in 1970 that Roberts moved again, this time to the Washington D.C. area, where he called games for Navy football as well as for professional teams at that time like the Washington Senators baseball team and Baltimore Bullets basketball team.

Roberts joined the Mutual Network in 1979 -- now known as Westwood One -- and spent the next 27 years working for the radio syndicate until he retired in 2006. During that time, the broadcaster "covered NFL football, NBA basketball, the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, the College World Series, and the British Open Golf Tournament; he also broadcast the Holiday and Aloha Bowls for twenty-five consecutive years."

He is best known, however, as being the "national voice" of Notre Dame football, and he called more than 200 games for the Fighting Irish in 25 years.

Award-winning sports broadcaster

Saturday Road noted that in addition to being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2016, Roberts was also honored in 2005 with the National Football Foundation's Chris Schenkel Award, which is granted annually to "a sports broadcaster who has had a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football … with direct ties to colleges and universities."

Per the Foundation, Roberts was also a seven-time winner of both the Associated Press Sports Reporting award and Sportscaster of the Year award, and has the distinction of calling more Army-Navy games, Notre Dame-Navy games, and college bowl games than any other sports radio announcer.

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