Bill Worrell

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Bill Worrell is an American sportscaster known primarily as the television play-by-play announcer for the Houston Rockets, a role he has filled since the early 1980s. Worrell also served as a television broadcaster for Houston Astros baseball for 20 seasons. Worrell has hosted and broadcast a wide variety of other major sporting events over his four decades in sports media.

Bill Worrell
Born Houston, Texas
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Houston
Occupation Sportscaster
Known for Announcer for:
Houston Rockets (1980 - Present)
Houston Astros (1985 - 2004)[1]

Early life[edit]

Bill Worrell was born in 1947 in Houston, Texas, the son of prominent dentist William Hamilton "Dub" Worrell (1920-2011). Dub Worrell served as team dentist for the Rice Owls, Houston Cougars, Houston Oilers, and the Houston Rockets, and he is credited with introducing the use of mouthpieces to professional athletes in Houston.[2] Bill Worrell grew up on Houston's west side and graduated from Lamar High School. He matriculated at the University of Houston in 1964, where he originally hoped to follow his father into dentistry.[3] While he was at UH, he participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, including pitching for the intercollegiate baseball team, which he did from 1964-66.

Worrell ultimately chose to major in communications while in his sophomore year at the University of Houston. He had a talent for public speaking, and this became clear in his first on-air broadcasting job with UH campus radio station KUHF.[3] After graduation, he was hired by legendary Houston broadcaster Ray Miller as a news anchor for Houston NBC affiliate KPRC-TV. An avid, lifelong sports fan, Worrell eventually transitioned from hard news into full-time sports broadcasting. In 1974, he became KPRC’s sports director, a position he held until 1980.

Sportscasting career[edit]

Worrell left KPRC to take an on-air job with the new cable sports network ESPN in 1980. That year, he began broadcasting Houston Rockets games for local TV on a part-time basis. He stayed with ESPN for three years before joining regional cable network startup Home Sports Entertainment in 1983 as a full-time play-by-play announcer for Rockets telecasts. Since then, Worrell has broadcast most Rockets’ games for local television, a period spanning 35 years. He has called the most notable seasons in franchise history, especially the team's consecutive championship seasons in 1994 and 1995. Currently, Worrell broadcasts Rockets home games on Root Sports alongside color analysts and former Rockets players Clyde Drexler and Matt Bullard. He is widely recognized as the television voice of Houston Rockets basketball.

Worrell has also broadcast a variety of other sports, most notably local television broadcasts of Houston Astros baseball. Worrell served as the color analyst for broadcasts of Astros games on Home Sports Entertainment and Fox Sports Net for 20 seasons, from 1985 to 2004. Given his primary role with the Rockets, Worrell covered Astros home telecasts mostly during the NBA off season. In 2005, popular former player and longtime color analyst Larry Dierker rejoined the Astros television broadcast team, a move that effectively ended Worrell's stint as an Astros color analyst. Worrell's departure from Astros telecasts was an amicable one, as it allowed him to focus his efforts on covering Houston Rockets basketball.[4] Worrell has also broadcast various other sports, including Houston Oilers football, pro rodeo, table tennis, and major sporting events as varied as the Kentucky Derby and the Super Bowl.[5]

Honors and awards[edit]

Bill Worrell has received numerous honors and awards for his achievements during his four decades in sports broadcasting. He is a six-time recipient of “Best Sportscast” award given by United Press International, and he won the Lone Star Emmy Award for “Best play-by-play announcer in Texas” in 2011. In 2013, the Houston Press named Worrell the best play-by-play announcer in the city, noting that Worrell's voice has become synonymous with Houston Rockets basketball to several generations of Houston sports fans.

The University of Houston honored Worrell as a distinguished alumnus in 2015 and inducted him into its athletics Hall of Honor in 2016.