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Goodbye Friends

Jim Nantz signs off from final March Madness with tear-jerking riff on “Hello Friends”

This weekend, Jim Nantz will welcome us all to the Masters with a sweet, syrupy rendition of “Hello Friends,” serving as the conductor in Augusta National’s soothing symphony of sounds once again. On Monday, however, Nantz, wrapping up his final March Madness run for CBS, was singing a very different tune, bidding goodbye to the game of college basketball as only he could. Check it out.

Nantz has called 37 March Madnesses over the course of his illustrious career, but after 355 games and 32 Final Fours, he is finally hanging up his Jordans. And of course he did it in classic Nantz fashion.

“Can I tell you one other thing?” he began as the credits rolled and the confetti fell on the triumphant UConn Huskies. “I mean this. I’m not trying to play off ‘Hello Friends.’ To you, everyone in the college game, my CBS family, my family, all the viewers … thank you for being my friend.”

Dang, did it just get dusty in here or what?

Nantz’s voice audibly cracks on that last line and why shouldn’t it? This is the end of an era. His voice is as synonymous with the NCAA Tournament as John Madden’s was with Thanksgiving football. Monday was the last time we’ll ever hear it. Sure, we’ll still have the Masters and CBS’ NFL coverage on Sundays, but March just won’t be the same without him.