Jim Simpson, ESPN’s first play-by-play announcer, died Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 88.
The cable sports network reported the death on-air Wednesday, calling Simpson both “a titan in sports television” and “a prince of a gentleman.”
Before joining ESPN in 1979, Simpson made a name for himself at NBC by calling events including the World Series, the Olympics, Wimbledon and AFL games. He also did play-by-play of the first Super Bowl for NBC Radio.
His play-by-play beats at ESPN were college football, basketball and baseball; the NBA and the USFL.
Throughout his career, Simpsons also appeared on TNT, ABC and CBS. He last was heard on TV in 1994, when he called some events at the Winter Olympics and Discover Card Stars on Ice.
“He brought tremendous credibility to ESPN in our early days, doing whatever was needed to help build the network,” the network’s founder Bill Rasmussen said via statement. “Jim was a television legend.”