By Harry Allison
Packer was the lead college basketball analyst for 34 straight Final Fours at NBC and CBS while also doing work as an analyst for ACC games on Raycom.
He received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst in 1993.
Packer was the son of longtime basketball coach Anthony Packer, who spent 16 seasons as the head coach at Lehigh. After earning all-state honors as a high schooler in Pennsylvania, Packer attended Wake Forest, where he was named All-ACC in 1961 and 1962. He helped lead the Demon Deacons to three ACC regular-season titles and their first Final Four appearance in 1962, when Packer was named to the all-region team.
He briefly entered the coaching profession before getting his start as an announcer in 1972. Packer told The Athletic in 2019 he “never had any goal to be a broadcaster.”
But within two years, Packer was on the call for NCAA tournament and Final Four games and didn’t give up his seat until leaving in 2008.
He was also part of the broadcast in 1979 with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team defeated Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad in the title game. That remains the highest-rated game in basketball history with a 21.1 Nielsen rating, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers.
RIP Billy Packer… https://t.co/d3L8VuvRoZ
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) January 27, 2023