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Hicks has seen his share of Irish football drama already

Apr 16, 2013, 11:09 AM EDT

Dan Hicks

Yesterday, NBC announced that Dan Hicks was joining the broadcast team for Notre Dame football, taking over the play-by-play duties from veteran Tom Hammond. Hicks, who leads NBC’s golf coverage, has voiced some incredible moments at the Olympics as well, including all 18 of Michael Phelps’ gold medals, during his acclaimed career. He’ll team with Mike Mayock and Alex Flanagan, who return for the 2013 season.

“Dan is a gifted commentator, and we wanted to find more high-profile opportunities to showcase his talents,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports & NBC Sports Network. “Coming off an undefeated regular season and a berth in the BCS Championship Game, Notre Dame Football provides a perfect platform.”

That Hicks and Notre Dame football combine to make a perfect storm is not just hyperbole. If Hicks’ history in the Irish booth is any indication, it might just be a legitimate prediction.

Hicks’ last two stops in the Notre Dame broadcast booth have been memorable high wire acts. In 2011, Hicks called the Irish’s season opener against USF, the first game delayed by weather at Notre Dame Stadium. In 2012, it was Hicks in the booth again, in a game that looked like the Irish were doomed again, but ended with the Irish pulling out a miraculous triple-overtime victory against Pitt.

I had a chance to catch up with Dan yesterday, and I asked him about his history of calling dramatic Notre Dame football games.

“I’m extremely honored to carry on the great tradition of Notre Dame football on NBC Sports,” Hicks told me. “Needless to say the few times I’ve done this prior to this full time assignment have been nothing short of drama filled.

“The last two the wildest. From the multi-weather delays when another Coach Holtz came to South Bend and upset the Irish, to last November when Notre Dame held off Pitt in that epic triple overtime game to keep their unbeaten season alive.

I know Irish fans seen heightened drama from their team in my limited stints behind the mic before, and I look forward to describing more fantastic finishes in the future.”

Recent history isn’t the only time Hicks brought drama with him into the broadcast booth. A decade before the Irish’s last undefeated run, it was Hicks calling a game that doomed the Irish. As Ty Willingham’s troops donned green jerseys and proceeded to fumble away their undefeated season, Hicks presided over the events as Hammond’s substitute.

Hicks will be in the booth this Saturday for the Irish’s Blue-Gold game.

  1. Goldy McGee - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    This is fantastic news! I think they could’ve done a little better than Hicks, but Hammond definitely needed to go. I always thought he looked like a deceased woman ready for the open casket viewing.

    • bernhtp - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      Not to be cruel, but Hammond did look embalmed, and not necessarily recently.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:55 PM

        hey give me some credit…I always said it looked as though he had stopped off at the local mortuary to get his makeup done.

    • 1historian - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      stay classy, goldy – stay classy

  2. nudeman - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    If you take away the “poorly embalmed circus clown” appearance, Hammond wasn’t all that bad.
    He’d make a mistake here and there like everyone; generally though he was fine. But based on comments on the various boards, ND fans really disliked the guy.

    Keith (or anyone who knows): Why was he canned? Was it in fact the unpopularity with ND nation that was his undoing?

    • gtizzo - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      No he wasn’t all bad…he was down right awful!! Getting players names wrong, making useless comments during games. I have no love for Musburger and Herbstreit on ESPN but they call a different game every week so I really didn’t mind the mix up. There is no excuse for Hammond missing player names when he is in the booth every home game. Shows a lack of attention to detail and a complete lack of professionalism.

    • keelio19 - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      Golden and Bern, spot on with your description of Hammonds lifelessness, haha, i laughed a little out loud at work, thanks.

      I never really had that much of an issue with Hammond either, though he would continually get the players names/numbers wrong, and or say their names wrong. I think Tom Hammond is the first creator of Everett Gholston, and that just had to go, our NBC announcers better know the names in and out, especially our star/starting QB.

      To answer your question Nude, he wasn’t fired, but might as well of been. He was basically demoted down to announce NBC horseracing, and plus I think once Hayden left (Who I liked as an announcer) Hammond was kinda lost out there being the main mic guy, he was use to being the backup all the time and I think he just became overwhelmed. I mean Hayden left, what, a year ago? So Hammond had either 1 year to show he could handle it, or they would find a replacement, well he couldn’t handle it, so now he’s calling horse races. Good luck Hammond, your corpse will be missed.

      Hey on other news, KEITH, why hasn’t there been any article about our new recent recruit; OL Sam Mustipher from Maryland, kids gonna be a beast of a Guard/Tackle.

  3. mediocrebob - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Anyone not named Pat Hayden is fine by me.

  4. mediocrebob - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Or Haden…

  5. yaketyyacc - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    harry wisner(first to own the NY Titans,later the Jets) and Joe Boland announced the ND games. Joe was slow methodical, but Harry very energitic, excitable. Herry yelled, fifteen yards against the Irish, 5,,10,15,20,25…er. Joe leaned over and said slowly, Harry, it’s the end of the quarter. my point: announcers are at best a nusiance.

  6. bb90grad - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Haden was biased but not all that bad to me…kinda like fnc111, but with knowledge and pedigree.

  7. dudeacow - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    I always liked how Hammond would say, “Here come the Irish!” But I imagine that halfway through next season I’ll be like, “Oh yeah, I think I remember a guy named Hammy… or is it Hambone… I can’t remember.”

  8. irishdodger - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Has anyone ever seen Hammond & Bea Arthur in the same place at the same time? Nice guy, but I was not a fan. My personal pick would be Brad Nessler.

  9. nudeman - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    If you really want some old time Irish, you reference the great Van Patrick from the 60s.
    Back in the day when ND was on TV 2x per year, radio was pretty much it for following the games

    Does anybody remember who was in the booth with him? I seem to remember it was an ex coach (not Pagna) who was sort of inarticulate but opinionated and loveable for his ND loyalty.

  10. fnc111 - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I think the bad coaching/players had something to do with the losses when Hicks was in the booth. I didn’t think ND would become to Cubs but according to this article they already are.

    • ibleedirish - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Umm…what? You don’t even troll well. That can’t be a positive indicator for success in real life.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 16, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        He might have TROLLiosis – (a curvature of the spine that causes one to look down their nose at others).

        The disease is common among air traffic conTROLLers and compTROLLers of large businesses. I’ve also seen it among professional bowlers that continually get ouTROLLed and police officers who have paTROLLed the streets alot.

        You can’t just jump on a TROLLy or sTROLL into a doctor’s office and get it fixed. The number of people that are stricken is asTROLLnomical. Some patients lose conTROLL and need elecTROLLysis, while others simply need to increase the elecTROLLytes that they are taking in (although that could cause gasTROLLintestinal problems).

        Personally, i think FNC probably just needs to reknew his perscription of nicaTROLL.

  11. fnc111 - Apr 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    bb, I will put my life on it I have more knowledge than you could ever dream of having on ND football. Quit being a coward hiding behind a fruity name calling me out. Show some class and quit being a baby like Andy. It’s true that saying the truth hurts. You probably obsess a little too much.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 16, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      “allegedly” more knowledge of ND football, but still lacking in…

      sentence structure
      being cordial
      understanding what it means to be a fan

      ..and a host of other things that my fellow commenters can add at their discretion

      • nudeman - Apr 16, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        Question is, even if he has half the knowledge he claims, that would seem to suggest he is an ND fan.
        So why does he come here with his inane, negative shit day after day?

        Might need a hug; more likely though, he needs a good kick in the ass

        Makes me long for Harv

    • 1historian - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      talk about “a coward hiding behind a fruity name” – who are you and where are you from, cupcake?

      • 1historian - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Not that I (or anyone else I would venture) really gives a s..t.

  12. goirishgo - Apr 16, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    RIP Pat Summerall.

    • 1historian - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Thanks for that. I am old enough to remember that 40 yard field goal he made in 1958 that got the Gints (purposeful misspelling) into The Greatest Game of All Time.

      • goirishgo - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:35 PM

        My pleasure. I’m a tad younger but have a ton of respect for how Summerall went about his craft and faced his demons. And I live in NJ so no need to explain “Gints”.

  13. papadec - Apr 16, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    nude – you got me on that post. Laughed so hard, I started to cough & tear, and spit my beer. “long for Harv”? Thanks for the laugh – I’ve been really down over the cowardly attack on the Boston marathon spectators. I graduated from Northeastern U (a few blocks away) & have many friends & relatives in the area. Needless to say – I’m really pissed off at whoever is responsible. War may be war – but, murdering children & women is inexcusable.

    • nudeman - Apr 16, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      Did you see the picture of the 8 year old boy?
      Unbelievable. Appeared to be in his First Communion suit.

      There are no words to express the disgust, shock and horror I feel
      I am anti death penalty, mainly because I don’t think it’s a deterrent, nor do I think I myself could ever flip the switch on someone.

      But cowards like this give me pause.
      The idiot was probably sitting in front of a TV somewhere, scratching his beard and drinking some imported middle eastern tea when the bombs went off. It’s probably asking too much that he actually feels anything approaching remorse.

      • papadec - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:54 PM

        nude – I am in favor of the death penalty – in appropriate cases. I also am in favor of hit teams (like in the Mossad) to track down & eliminate this kind of scum (domestic or foreign) – no trial, no jury, no media – just identification & elimination. But, I’m just hardcore – old Corps.

    • mtflsmitty - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Prayers for the good people of Boston. A tough bunch, Bostonians. Actually got my ass kicked in Boston once by a Southie rat. I’m not a death penalty fan. But would be fun to see the a-hole responsible be forced to walks the streets of South Boston and just be beaten to hell day after day.

  14. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Certain aggravating factors should invoke the death penalty and killing women and children by a terrorist act should be on that list. papa, I am with you. If we’ve absolutely identified a terrorist, make it swift, make it clean, just take him out with no fanfare and be done with it.

  15. nudeman - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    Here’s the problem with that, papa.
    Right now I’m watching a Ken Burns documentary on those five black teenagers who were wrongfully convicted in the Central Park jogger case in 1990. They were convicted in the press and by the general public long before the trial. Idiots like Trump and Koch were making outrageous statements, basically convicting them and if lynching was legal they’d have been lynched on the spot.
    One problem: they were railroaded and. Completely innocent. Your Mossad boys wouldn’t have been the answer there.

    • papadec - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      nude – you have correctly identified the flip side of the coin. I’m not talking about any/every criminal act. There have been far too many innocent people convicted of crimes they didn’t commit – especially on a racial bias. I’m talking about what the Mossad did after the Munich games. Identify through intelligence sources, and eliminate those involved.

  16. windycityirish - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Happy to have Dan Hicks on board- let’s all hope that every game isn’t as cardiac-arrest inducing as the last two games he’s called.

    I think some are being unfair to Tom Hammond. Listen to “Quinn to Samardzjia” from 2006, he had some great calls in South Bend.

    • nudeman - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Agree on Hammond
      Thanks for the balance

  17. thefightinfloyds - Apr 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Wow, 18 gold medals. I forget how much of beast Michael Phelps was … he should melt them down and make a huge gold medal with “18” on it.
    Dan Hicks? Sure … doesn’t matter much to me. I’m sure his wife is happy.

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