Bill Mercer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Bill Mercer (born William A. Mercer; 13 February 1926) is an American sportscaster, educator and author, originally from Muskogee, Oklahoma, who now lives in Richardson, Texas. In 2002, he was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.[1]


During World War II, Mercer served in the United States Navy from 1943-1946 aboard the USS Rixie and USS LCI(G)–439 (Landing Craft Infantry – Gunboat) as a Signalman.Mercer's ships participated in 5 invasions,Marshall Islands, Guam, Leyte, Luzon, Okinawa . Mercer attended college, first at Northeastertn State College, Tahlequah, Oklahoma after the war and earned a Bachelors degree from the University of Denver in 1949 and a masters degree from North Texas State University in 1966.[1]

Bill and his wife Ilene (Hargis of Stigler Oklahoma) have been married nearly 66 years, have four children, David, Evan, Martin and Laura, and seven granddaughters.


Mercer was best known as a play-by-play radio announcer for baseball, football, basketball and wrestling. He was also a news reporter for KRLD covering the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963. He and fellow reporters George Phenix, Wes Wise and Bob Huffaker wrote When the News Went Live about their experiences during that time.[2] Mercer also wrote [3] Play-by-Play: Tales from a Sportscasting Insider about his experiences in sportscasting. Mercer had a stint during the 1980s as sports anchor for KVIL morning host Ron Chapman, and spent over 35 years teaching new generations of sports broadcasters in the University of North Texas Radio/TV Department .[1] One of his least known achievements, along with his friend and North Texas Sports Information Director Fred Graham, was the finding of an FM frequency 99.1 assigned to Denton, Texas in the 1980s The station went on the air in 1980's with the call letters KJZY. It is currently a Spanish language station.

Play by Play[edit]

In his 60+ year career Mercer provided play-by-play broadcasting for minor league teams first the Muskogee Giants of the Class C Western Association; Dallas Rangers (Triple A baseball) from 1959–64, Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs (Texas League baseball) 1965-1971. He then moved up to broadcast for major league baseball teams Texas Rangers (major league baseball) in 1972 (with Don Drysdale) and Chicago White Sox in 1974. Mercer also provided play-by-play for University of North Texas (known as North Texas State until 1989) football and basketball from 1959-1994. Dallas Texans (American Football League in 1960 with Charlie Jones, Dallas Cowboys (National Football League) from 1966-1971 including the team's Super Bowl appearance in 1972. He provided color commentary with Jay Randolph in 1965 for the Dallas Cowboys and then became the play-by-play announcer when Randolph moved to St. Louis. In the 1980s Mercer broadcast Southwest Conference football and basketball for Mutual Radio. He also assisted Mike Capps with play-by-play for the Round Rock Express minor league baseball of the Texas League and currently the Pacific Coast League and for three years with Scott Garner of the Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas League. While at KRLD in Dallas he served seven years as color commentator for CBS Radio broadcasts of the Cotton Bowl Classic college football bowl games.[1] He is also famous for calling the famous "Ice Bowl"', the NFL championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in 1967, along with the Cowboys' second Super Bowl appearances (also for the NFL championship).

During his time at UNT, he called games involving Kevin Adkisson and Steve Williams, who both became professional wrestlers under the names Kevin Von Erich and Stone Cold Steve Austin respectively. He also was the announcer ine 1959 at UNT when Abner Haynes broke the color line in Texas and later became a star with the Dallas Texans of the AFL. Later Joe Greene was an All American at UNT and.Greene, known as Mean Joe Greene, starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Mercer provided play-by-play announcer for the internationally acclaimed World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), based in Dallas. During WCCW Mercer was voted the fourth most popular Television personality in Israel after the three Von Erichs. Mercer accidentally became a wrestling announcer in the 1950s in Muskogee, Oklahoma while broadcasting all the major sports, on KMUS Radio and late 1950s and 1960s both at the Dallas Sportatorium and during in-studio wrestling events at KRLD-TV (present day KDFW-TV) Channel 4.

During the time with World Class, Mercer, Mickey Grant and Gary Hart and the von Erich boys, David, Kevin, and Kerry along with their father Fritz von Erich became prominent figures in the success of the organization.


  • Texas Radio Hall of Fame (2002 inductee) [1]
  • University of North Texas Athletic Department Hall of Fame[1]
  • Texas Baseball Ex-Pro's Baseball Hall of Fame [1]
  • Oklahoma Sports Museum, Guthrie, Oklahoma: The Bill Teegins Award[citation needed]
  • Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Hall of Fame, April 2009

. University of Texas-Dallas Athletic Department Hall of Honor, 2011



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Bill Mercer Bio". Texas Radio Hall of Fame. 
  2. ^ Huffaker, Bob; George Phenix; Wes Wise; Bill Mercer (October 15, 2004). When the News Went Live: Dallas 1963. Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 1-58979-139-8. 
  3. ^ Mercer, Bill. Play-by-Play: Tales from a Sportscasting Insider. Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58979-224-1.