Gary Bender Biography
Gary Bender ( Born Gary Nedrow Bender ) is a retired American sportscaster and 2008 inductee into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He
officially retired, April 13, 2011, from Fox Sports Arizona network after 18 years calling the NBA’s Phoenix Suns games.
Gary Bender Age
Gary Nedrow Bender (born September 1, 1940) is a retired American sportscaster and 2008 inductee into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Gary Bender Family
He was born in Norton, Kansas, and raised in a nearby town of Ulysses, Kansas, graduated from Ulysses High School in 1958. He then attended Wichita State University (then known as the University of Wichita), graduating with a journalism degree in 1962 and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1964. He then began his broadcasting career calling games at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS and then went on to do the same at the University of Kansas’ football and basketball programs in the 1960s. He also spent years as a broadcaster in Wisconsin and called all of the Wisconsin Athletic Association championship games, as well as Green Bay Packers radio and Milwaukee Brewers television in the early 1970s.
Gary Bender Education
Talking about his educational background, Gary graduated from Ulysses High School in 1958. He then attended Wichita State University (then known as the University of Wichita), graduating with a journalism degree in 1962 and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1964.
Gary Bender Career
He began his broadcasting career calling games at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS and then went on to do the same at the University of Kansas’ football and basketball programs in the 1960s. He also spent years as a broadcaster in Wisconsin and called all of the Wisconsin Athletic Association championship games, as well as Green Bay Packers radio and Milwaukee Brewers television in the early 1970s.
Gary Bender Photo
Gary Bender Image
He did play-by-play for the NFL on CBS from 1975 to 1981, and again in 1986 (among his partners were Johnny Unitas, Sonny Jurgensen, Hank Stram, and John Madden, all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame) and the 1981 NBA Finals along with color commentators Rick Barry and Bill Russell, both members of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He was CBS’ first play-by-play announcer for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, calling the Final Four alongside Billy Packer in 1982, 1983 and 1984. In 1982 and 1983, he was CBS’ lead college football play-by-play man.
ABC Sports (1987-1992)
On October 27, 1987, Bender (along with Lynn Swann) called the Monday Night Football game between the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings. That game had been scheduled for October 26, but when the Minnesota Twins (who at the time, shared the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome with the Vikings) played Game 7 of the World Series that day, the football game was moved to Monday and shown to a regional audience. In 1988, Bender did play-by-play for the American League Championship Series alongside Baseball Hall of Famers Joe Morgan and Reggie Jackson. He also announced college football games for ABC Sports, where he formerly worked alongside Dick Vermeil.
Gary Bender Personal Information
He is also co-author with Michael Johnson of the biography Call of the Game, in which he shares his life story, tips on how to become a better broadcaster, and his Christian testimony. He did a series of Kendall Motor Oil commercials in the mid-1980s.In the first five months of 2001, Bender presided as host of the nationally syndicated Focus on the Family radio show after the resignation of the previous host Mike Trout (1985–2000) because of an extramarital affair. Bender was replaced on a full-time basis by Focus vice president of broadcasting John Fuller.
Gary Bender is an alumnus of the Kansas Delta chapter of Phi Delta Theta at Wichita State where he received his bachelor’s degree. He received his master’s degree in radio and TV from the University of Kansas. His son, Trey, is also a sportscaster and played Pop Warner Little Scholars. His granddaughter, Landry Bender is an actress.
Gary Bender Net Worth
As of 2018, Gary Nedrow Bender has an estimated net worth of over $2 million. He worked for Fox Sports for 18 years and got retired on April 13, 2011.
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Ken Foote Remembers CBS Sports Announcer Gary Bender
Gary Bender was probably one of the best network sports announcers in his day. It is fitting that we showcase him this week since he has the distinction of being CBS’ first play by play announcer for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Born on September 1, 1940, he is a graduate of Wichita State University and holds a master’s degree from the University Of Kansas. He got his start calling collegiate games in Kansas, including the University of Kansas’ football and basketball in the 1960s. He also worked in Wisconsin, calling play-by-play for the Green Bay Packers on radio and the Milwaukee Brewers on TV. His career at CBS Sports spanned twelve years, from 1975-1987, which included play-by-play for the “NFL On CBS”. In addition to March Madness, he was the network’s lead play-by-play announcer for college football.
After CBS, he spent five years at ABC Sports. He later joined TNT for a brief period before joining FOX Sports Net-Arizona for the next 18 years calling play by play for the Phoenix Suns. He also was with the Versus Network calling Mountain West Conference football and had a syndicated radio show, “Focus On The Family”.
What an extraordinary career.
Enjoy this clip from December 27, 1985, of Gary calling play-by-play at the Sun Bowl… but he’s talking about the University Of Texas-El Paso defeating Georgetown… in men’s basketball! That was news indeed!