PULLMAN — Bob Robertson, the Washington State football play-by-play announcer since 1964, said it’s “time to pass the torch,” and has been moved to a reduced role in the Cougars broadcast booth. Robertson, 84, his tenure interrupted only once during a break from 1969-71, said the energy isn’t there as it was.
Last season, a few of his responsibilities went to Bud Nameck and color analyst Shawn McWashington, a sign that change was coming.
During a career that has spanned six decades, Robertson has called 520 WSU football games, 470 consecutively. Nameck, who also serves as the WSU basketball play-by-play man, will have the monumental task of replacing a regional legend as the play by play voice.
“I will be almost 85 years old by the end of the season, and my energy level isn’t what it was when I was 35,” Robertson said Friday. “I’m not going to get any younger, so I’d rather people remember me the way I was as opposed to the way I will be.”
Robertson, a Blaine native, will serve as an analyst during football games and host the pre-game, halftime and post-game show. WSU athletic director Bill Moos indicated that the decision to move Robertson was mutual.
“Bob and I had discussions this summer and we were in agreement that with the demands placed on a five-hour broadcast, this is the best move going forward,” said Moos. “Bob Robertson is synonymous with Cougars athletics and will be a member of our broadcast team for as long as I am athletic director. The ultimate goal is to have him in the booth for many years to come.”
WSU’s opener Aug. 31 at Auburn will mark Robertson’s 47th season as part of the Cougars broadcast team.
Robertson recently stepped away from his summer gig calling Spokane Indians games, a position that he began in 1999. His signature sign-off, “Always be a good sport; be a good sport all ways,” is synonymous with WSU football.
On the day Robertson takes a step back, Vin Scully announces he’ll call Dodger games for at least one more year. No criticism on Bob. Just an interesting coincidence.
Bob also was the sports anchor for when KSTW had a nightly newscast. I remember when it was announced that Bob would be joining the broadcast team my dad was very excited for it because he said Bob was the best sports reporter/announcer in the state.
I remember that, although I mostly remember watching KSTW news to see Shawna McLaughlin. Oh, my goodness!!!
Anyway, as someone who’s called a lot of sports on radio over the years (not that I’ve done it all that well, necessarily), I can say with certainty that Bob Robertson has been a consummate pro for six decades because he can call any sport and make it sound easier than it really is. He was the original voice of the Seattle Sounders in 1974, and he made it sound like he was born doing it. He’s been a standard-setter for guys like me and it’s hard to imagine listening to WSU games without him, even though he himself says that day is coming. To a lot of us, Bob IS Cougar football.