Last week we learned that the new radio broadcast team will be former U-M teammates Jim Brandstatter and Dan Dierdorf. The big news is that Brandy is shifting over a seat to do the play-by-play, with DD handling the color commentary. I confirmed with Doug Karsch that he will remain is his previous role handling the on-field duties. I kinda hope Karsch would get the nod to be in the booth (in one role or another) but it’s hard to argue with the Brandy-DD team. Heck, I didn’t even know Dierdorf was an option.
You might know that Brandy stepped in to handle the radio play-by-play back in 2003 for the Northwestern game, but that’s not actually the first time he performed those duties during a Michigan football game. It turns out that was way back in 1980…on TV. Recently Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis shared with me the details of Brandstatter’s first shot calling the game:
In 1980, Larry Adderley and Jim Brandstatter were all set to call the Michigan-Notre Dame football game from South Bend, Indiana for a local cable TV outlet. Adderley, who had just finished 5 years as the host of Michigan Replay with coach Bo Schembechler, would unfortunately come down with laryngitis just before kickoff. He made a valiant effort to do the play-by-play, but his voice just couldn’t hold up (see clip #1 below).
Brandstatter, having been a former UM offensive lineman knew the drill: when one man goes down, the next one has to step up. It has been the creed of Michigan Football since Bo arrived in 1969. While he was planning on doing the color commentary for the cable telecast, Brandy manned up and took over for Adderley in the 2nd half. He recruited UM Hoopster Steve Grote to do the color commentary (see clip #2). Obviously Brando got a little excited and you can tell he was “watching” the game in some spots instead of describing the action. In his defense you have to remember that he was doing this game on TV, not radio. He recovered nicely, and his call of Craig Dunaway’s last minute TD (see clip #3).
Not bad for his first gig as a play-by-play guy, especially when you consider he was prepping to do the game as the color commentary man.
Not too shabby indeed. Here are the clips:
I heard back in January through my deep network of #1000SSS spies that Brandstatter was indeed going after the play-by-play gig…and it prompted this tweet exchange:
We know now that Jim sought out clips from his first time doing radio play-by-play (2003 Northwestern) to help make his case to IMG and our friends on State Street. Radio legend Art Vuolo, the man with an ultimate set of U-M audio in his archives, confirmed the story on his site last week:
Perhaps the reason I am personally so excited to see this happen is due, in part, to the fact that it was my pleasure to help out via my extensive archive of U of M games. In 2003, when back surgery prevented Frank Beckmann from making the trip to Evanston, IL for the UM-Northwestern game, Jim was pressed into service calling the game, with Steve Courtney doing the color commentary. Brandy called me and asked if I had that game? I said I have just about all of them.
After checking, that game was still on the original video cassette (a Beta tape none the less!) So, I copied it, with Jim on the audio, onto a DVD and watched it at the same time. I thought “wow he’s damn good at actually calling a game!” When he came over to pick up the disc he was truly amazed at the library of Michigan video I’ve accumulated over the past 35+ years.
A copy of that DVD was given to Michigan Athletic Director, Dave Brandon and the rest…is now history. In an e-mail I received from Jim Brandstatter on Thursday he said, “Thank the Lord you still had a copy of that Northwestern game when my copy didn’t work so well…that was big…I had no idea at the time, but it turned out large.”
My pleasure Brando.
Nice work Art. Nice work Sap. Looking forward to hearing the new crew.
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