Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Cawood Ledford

There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now- legendary voices and characters. Today, I want to pay tribute to Cawood Ledford.

Cawood Ledford's style of doing play by play endeared himself to all sports fans in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He remains among the most popular sports figures in the state. I started listening to "Cawood" at a young age. I can remember my dad lying in bed listening to the Voice of the University of Kentucky Wildcats as I sat listening from the steps that led upstairs to my bedroom. "Hello everybody, this is Cawood Ledford..."

Ledford began broadcasting high school basketball and football games for WHLN radio in Harlan in 1951 and began broadcasting Kentucky Wildcats games in 1953 after moving to Lexington. He remained play-by-play announcer for UK for 39 years. His last game as an announcer for a Kentucky basketball game was in 1992, when Kentucky fell to Duke 104-103 in overtime in the NCAA East Regional Final, a game widely considered to be the greatest college basketball game ever played. He also worked as the play-by-play announcer for national radio broadcasts of the NCAA Men's Final Four on the CBS Radio Network and called many runnings of the Kentucky Derby for CBS Radio. Ledford also did play-by-play of the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association. Nobody ever could or ever will do play by play as good as Cawood Ledford.

One of my favorite photographs is this one featuring the Voice of the Clinton County Bulldogs, Sid Scott, and the Voice of the Kentucky Wildcats, Cawood Ledford.

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