Verne Lundquist, the well-known play-by-play television announcer for the SEC on CBS, will step down after the 2016 season, the network announced Tuesday.
Brad Nessler will succeed Lundquist, joining lead analyst Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce beginning with the 2017 season.
“Verne has set the standard for college football broadcasting,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said. “Together with Gary Danielson he has played a key role in making the SEC ON CBS the highest-rated college football package in America.
"After an incredible 17 years, he will be handing the reigns off to Brad, who in his own right is highly acclaimed and respected as one of the premier play-by-play broadcasters in the business. I am very pleased that Verne will still have a prominent role in our college basketball and major championship golf coverage. We are fortunate to have one more football season to appreciate Verne’s one-of-a-kind storytelling as we pave the way for a seamless and smooth transition to Brad."
Said Lundquist: "Being a part of the SEC ON CBS since 2000 has been the most significant assignment I’ve been given in my more than five decades in this business. Now, it’s time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years. In 2017, I’ll happily step aside from college football and welcome Brad to the booth. I’ve known Brad for more than 30 years and have always admired his work ethic and his on-air presence. He shares the same passion for college football that I do. The SEC ON CBS is in great hands. Brad and Gary will form a great partnership in the years ahead.”
Nessler comes to CBS from ESPN.
“Verne has been a friend for over 30 years and someone I've always looked up to in this business,” Nessler said. “I'm not replacing him as it would be impossible to replace Verne. I am truly honored to carry on where he leaves off and work to maintain the standard of excellence he has set calling the SEC on CBS. I am excited to rejoin the CBS Sports team this season and look forward to working alongside Gary again in 2017.”
Lundquist has broadcast more than 20 different sports for CBS Sports during his career. He was named lead play-by-play announcer for the SEC on CBS in 2000. He has served as play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports’ coverage of NCAA basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship for 31 years. Lundquist was the lead play-by-play announcer for figure skating at the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games, called NFL games for 13 years and also had extensive involvement in CBS Sports’ previous coverage of the NBA.
In May, Lundquist was honored with the Sports Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2007, Lundquist was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.
Nessler returns to CBS Sports after previously working there beginning in 1990 on college football and men’s and women’s basketball, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship game, and NFL games. He also was the network’s host for speed skating coverage at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France.
Nessler joins CBS after a 24-year career at ESPN. He most recently called the ESPN College Football Primetime game on Saturday nights and the College Football Playoff semifinals.