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Bill Worrell to retire after last home game

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by REEKO_HTOWN, May 11, 2021.

  1. WestendMassive

    Aug 13, 2003
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    Salute to an absolute legend of Houston Rockets folklore. Hopefully the team can drain some COLD BLOODED THREES in these last few games to give him a proper sendoff.

    His passion for the Rockets was unmatched and will be missed. Thanks for the memories, Bill!

    edit: just found this on Twitter... Mad Max giving Bill his props in a way that only Mad Max can....

  2. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    This is for those who may not know a lot about Bill Worrell's broadcast history in Houston. There's a lot more to Mr. Worrell than Bill broadcasting Rockets games, starting in the early '80's. He had a stint broadcasting the Oilers, and was the color analyst with the Astros for 20 years during the NBA off-season. Here's all or part of a column written in the 1990's by Rohith Nandagiri, then a staff writer for The Daily Cougar. It must have been written not long before the first championship run of the Rockets, since it isn't mentioned. This is all I could dig up on short notice.

    I'm really going to miss Bill. I hope someone in the front office is smart enough to let Bill and Murph call the last home game. Like many of you, I've missed having the pair do the games these last many years.


    Rockets' announcer Bill Worrell reflects on memorable years at UH
    Rohith Nandagiri

    Staff Writer

    For years we have heard his voice in our living rooms. He is the one we watched do the play-by-play for the Houston Rockets during their down years as well as the championship runs. He is also a staunch University of Houston athletic supporter who undoubtedly bleeds Cougar red.

    He is Bill Worrell, the man with the lasting smile that never seems to fade in the face of all the adversity the Rockets or the Cougars might be going through.

    Worrell went to UH during the mid-1960s when the university was going through some of its biggest changes.

    "I was (at UH) during the most exciting times of the university," said Worrell, "with the school going with the state aid, the first admittance of black students and athletes, the Vietnam era - and, of course, the game."

    The game Worrell is referring to is the 1968 "Game of the Century," pitting Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and his UCLA Bruins against Elvin Hayes, legendary coach Guy Lewis and the Cougars. The game was played in the Astrodome in front of a frenzied crowd of 52,693.

    "That game was my most memorable athletic event in my life," Worrell said.

    Worrell started his education at UH in 1964 where he played baseball for the school. He started off as a pre-medicine major, but when his class load conflicted with his practice schedule, he decided to take some communication classes and change his major.

    Worrell began his broadcasting career with campus radio station KUHF, where he broadcast the freshmen basketball games via telephone line. His aggressive nature helped to land many important positions in Houston.

    One of his professors at the time, William Hawes, still teaches in the School of Communication and had nothing but praise for Worrell.

    "About the time of his graduation, Channel 2 news director Ray Miller called me and asked about him. I told him how dedicated he was. Miller told me he did not want Worrell if he was just another pretty face," Hawes said. "Soon he was on air co-anchoring the evening news.

    "Bill Worrell is a distinguished alumnus of the School of Communication and the University of Houston. He has definitely fulfilled my expectations," Hawes said.

    After he got the evening news job with Channel 2, Worrell chose to go in a new direction. Since he had a good understanding of sports, he chose to take on the task of sports director for the station in 1974, the same job held by current Channel 2 sports director Craig Roberts.

    In 1980, Worrell started working for then start-up cable network ESPN.

    He said he never lost the joy for broadcasting athletics.

    A friend of Worrell's approached him about a project he was working on called Home Sports Entertainment. In 1983, he began his career with the start-up station and still holds a job there today. Since then, the station has gone through a couple of changes as it became Prime Sports and Fox Sports Southwest.

    Worrell first started working for the Rockets in the early '80s, as he wanted to get some experience doing play-by-play. In 1983, he applied to the Rockets' then General Manager Ray Patterson for the position of everyday play-by-play announcer. He was offered the position and since then has called almost every game the Rockets have played.

    Even with this taxing assignment, Worrell has always made time for Cougar athletics. As an influential alumnus and a prominent Houstonian, he is well-received at all Cougar home games. Through his experiences with UH he still has concerns about the state of fan support.

    "The state of the athletics is fine, but it is the state of support which is not so fine. Where I have a problem is the constant change in leadership, and every time there is a change there is a new direction and the program never really gets on solid ground," Worrell said. "Now I feel that we have some stability. I am a big supporter of (UH football coach) Kim Helton and (UH Athletic Director) Chet Gladchuk, and I think they have the program headed in the right direction.

    "Baseball is in good shape, football is in good shape, but basketball is shaky," Worrell added. "I don't know what we are going to do about that, but I am sure that Chet and (UH President/System Chancellor) Arthur Smith will make the right decisions.

    "That's something they are going to have to decide about what they are going to do with the basketball program," Worrell said. "You have to recruit kids who are going to stay more than two or three years. That's the only problem I have with the program right now is that there has been no stability.

    Maybe the recruiting of Moses Malone Jr. will help keep the kids locally. It's not hard to get a national power in basketball because you only have five players. You can get two or three superstars and then complement them. He (head coach Alvin Brooks) just needs to keep plugging and get two or three players to stay from this area and one big player."

    Worrell said that once you do get a great player, the problem is keeping them for more than a year.

    "I will say this in defense of college basketball now. It's much harder to recruit a team because if you recruit young studs out of high school, they don't stay very long. They go right to the pros. It is hard to build a national power anymore unless all the kids are coming to your school like North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky. If he recruited four great players and they all leave after one year, he's going to be in trouble."

    Worrell was a pitcher on the last Cougar baseball team to make it to the College World Series in 1968. He sees bright things for the Cougar baseball team, which was picked to win its second consecutive Conference USA championship.

    "I am very proud of the baseball program, and (head coach) Rayner Noble is one of my favorite people. Rayner's got the team back in the playoffs, and that is a start and I really think this team is going to be good," said Worrell.

    Since his days of broadcasting Cougar basketball, Worrell has seen the team rise and fall. "My first association was with Phi Slama Jama One, which was the most exciting basketball team in the nation outside of UCLA, and we beat them in the Astrodome. We also were the first integrated basketball team in the south.

    "There was Don Chaney and Elvin Hayes and Theodis Lee, who has passed away. Ken Spain, who played in the 1968 Olympics, was a 6-11 center was also a great player. That was one of the greatest teams of all-time.

    "That team was a forerunner to Phi Slama Jama Two in the early '80s. That team had appeal to the young people, but those of us who had seen the days of Elvin and Don remembered the good times of before," Worrell said.

    "I remember when I went to UH to see (Hakeem Olajuwon) play. All he could do was shoot a hook shot. He didn't even have a pair of shoes. The year before Hakeem got here we were good anyway, and when he got here it was just the icing on the cake."

  3. Downtown Sniper

    Downtown Sniper Contributing Member

    Oct 9, 2007
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    It needed to be done.

    I cannot count the amount of times he'd say a completely different players name.
    dmoneybangbang likes this.
  4. jacoby

    jacoby Member

    Jun 26, 2011
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    Does Bill Worrell not have an official birthday?
  5. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Member

    Jul 17, 2006
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    Nothing is forever but the fond memories.

    All the best, Bill.

    ROXTXIA Contributing Member

    Apr 25, 2000
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    I’ll miss his folksy tone, somewhat. But it’s probably time for Bill to surrender his driver license, so to speak.

    Now we’re stuck with my fellow Hawkeye Bullard’s phony laugh and........who?

    I’d like to see Calvin “The Freshest Pimp” Murphy take over.
  7. deb4rockets

    deb4rockets Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2013
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    Man am I gonna miss you Bill! It's just not going to be the same without you. You were by far my favorite announcer on our Rockets broadcast team. Wishing you the best in your retirement!
    WestendMassive likes this.
  8. freemaniam

    freemaniam 我是自由人

    Nov 18, 2005
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    His voice will be sorely missed. It's a shame his last commentary will take place in a half emptied stadium. Hope the fans whom attend the game will give him a standing ovation.
    BigM and BossHogg713 like this.
  9. Aruba77

    Aruba77 Contributing Member

    Jul 7, 1999
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    It was time but let’s put some respect on the man’s name. A true Houston legend. It’s a damn shame to end his career on such a low point. I hope they do something really special for him. He’s too classy for this ownership.
  10. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

    Aug 10, 2001
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    Much deserved retirement. His calls during the 90s with Calvin are so memorable I can still hear it in my head while typing this.
    Duke Fan, BossHogg713 and RudyTBag like this.
  11. TimDuncanDonaut

    Feb 20, 2009
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  12. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

    Oct 15, 2001
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    I've posted this before, but kind of interesting to think about. Other than my immediate family, I've probably heard no one else's voice more than Bill Worrell's in my lifetime, and that will probably hold true forever. I've only missed watching a dozen or so Rockets games since I was in my mid-teens nearly 30 years ago. Listening to him call the Rockets game just kind of became comforting at some point. I like Bull, but him and Calvin doing games together during those pinnacle seasons was an absolute blast and brings back some great memories. I wish him all the best in retirement and good health!

    The lucky thing is we have a young, passionate life-long Rockets fan ready to step in, who is great at calling games and already has a good rapport with Bullard doing away games for several years. It's not going to be some giant drop-off where they just immediately replace two long-time announcers out of nowhere without any transition time (looking at you Wizards). Looking forward to Craig stepping in, and hopefully a comparable tenure as Rockets' announcer!
    #112 DCkid, May 12, 2021
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
    BigM likes this.
  13. rockets1995

    rockets1995 Member

    Jun 28, 2011
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    What if Bill Worrell still wants to continue and still call games. I won't be surprised if he joins a Contender. Next Year. Maybe the Nets. Nets always add more broadcasters.
  14. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    Ugh, no Calvin the final 2 games...

  15. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

    Nov 23, 2002
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    Always loved Bill, the ultimate homer, gonna miss him for sure!
  16. thething

    thething Contributing Member

    Jun 27, 2008
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    Dang, we had a 100% chance of getting a #1 pick this year while Bill Worrell was around.
  17. marks0223

    marks0223 2017 and 2022 World Series Champions
    Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2007
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  18. RudyTBag

    RudyTBag Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2006
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    Yes please oh lawd... I'll take Craig, Bull and Vernon... Spice things up.
  19. The_Yoyo

    The_Yoyo Contributing Member

    Dec 25, 2001
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    I dont have the same association with Bill here as others do. But I am kind of glad he is moving on - the game has moved by him and I was never a huge fan. Pairing him up with Bullard made it even worse.

    Good luck to him - he did mean a lot to the Houston community but hopefully Craig takes over both home and road games now. (And yes they should replace Bull with Vernon imo)
    ashleyem likes this.
  20. Williamson

    Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2002
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    Man, I'll miss Bill. He's been there all of my life. No more cold blood threes? No more calling every single player who has ever been taken in the first round, regardless of whether they were first player taken or the last, the "number one pick"?

    End of an era.

    Also, yes to Mad Max. Holy god yes to Mad Max. Would be the most entertaining broadcast ever and who else has a broadcaster that might still get into a fight?

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