Chuck Swirsky

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Swirsky calling a Chicago Bulls game at the United Center in 2009.

Chuck Swirsky (born January 30, 1954) is an American-Canadian radio sports announcer. He is the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Swirsky's association with Chicago sports started in 1979 with his WCFL AM 1000 talk show which debuted on August 27 of that year. Outside Chicago, Swirsky called play-by-play for both University of Michigan basketball and football and was formerly the play-by-play voice of the Toronto Raptors.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Swirsky grew up in Bellevue, Washington and is a graduate of Interlake High School.

Broadcasting and career[edit]

Starting in 1979, Swirsky hosted a nightly sports radio show on WCFL (AM 1000) where he talked Chicago sports with callers. Swirsky then moved to WLUP (The Loop) where he provided afternoon sports updates and hosted a Sunday night sports radio show from 9-11 PM thru 1981. During this time, Swirsky was named the Chicago Bulls public address announcer from 1980 to 1983. Swirsky next joined WGN radio in 1981 and remained through the mid-1990s. Swirsky hosted various sports talk shows and provided sports updates. While he was with WGN, he also did play-by-play for DePaul games alongside former coach Ray Meyer and also did Chicago Bears pre-game and post-game coverage. He also made frequent appearances on the Bob Collins radio show discussing Chicago sports, with Collins dubbing him "The Swirsk" as a nickname. During his time at WGN, a man dressed as Max Headroom hijacked a broadcast of Doctor Who and made a mocking reference to Swirsky, calling him "a frickin' liberal". Bruce Wolf frequently parodied Swirsky with a fictional character, "Chet Chitchat", which is a blended caricature of Chicago sportscasters Chet Coppock and Swirsky. During his time at WGN Radio, Swirsky filled in as a sports anchor on an occasional basis at WGN-TV.

Swirsky left WGN for Detroit where he did play-by-play for University of Michigan basketball in the mid-1990s. He was also sports director for WJR radio. Rob Pelinka was among his Michigan color commentators.[1]

Swirsky next moved to Toronto to become the play-by-play voice of the Toronto Raptors during the 1998–99 NBA season, first on the radio then for television beginning in 2001. On March 23, 2007, Swirsky was honored by the Raptors when they gave out 18,000 bobbleheads with his likeness.[2] He was known for his famous "Salami & Cheese" phrase, which was used to advertise Raptors game packs during the 2007–08 season.[3][4] Another catch phrase was "Onions, Baby, Onions." This was said when a player makes a three-point shot, and was used to advertise Raptors NBA TV HD.[5] He became a Canadian citizen on January 14, 2008.[6]

During the middle of his tenure in Toronto, Swirsky also hosted a sports radio show on CJCL (The Fan 590) called The Chuck Swirsky Show. Swirsky took listeners' calls and provided sports news with the show ending on July 31, 2008. On May 6, 2008, Swirsky left the organization for personal reasons related to his family.[7] His vacated position was filled by Matt Devlin.

He has since returned to Chicago to carry out the radio play-by-play for the Chicago Bulls[8] on its flagship station WMVP, which is the same station as Swirsky's first employer, WCFL. He has also called Chicago White Sox games in 2015 on a fill-in basis as substitution for the current play by play broadcaster, Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson.[9]

On September 7, 2016, Swirsky was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. In May 2018, Swirsky was inducted in to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the WGN Radio Walk of Fame.

Swirsky is single.

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Donnell, Jim (1995-02-19). "Lake Talk". Chicago Tribune. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  2. ^ "2006-07 Game Night Giveaways". raptors.com. Archived from the original on 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
  3. ^ "Chuck's Salami and Cheese Pack". raptors.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  4. ^ Chuck Swirsky Commercial: "Salami and Cheese" on YouTube
  5. ^ Chuck Swirsky Commercial: "Onions, Baby, Onions" on YouTube
  6. ^ "Going Canadian..." nba.com/raptors/news/swirsky. 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  7. ^ Smith, Doug (2008-05-06). "Raptors announcer Swirsky leaving for Bulls". Toronto: TheStar.com. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
  8. ^ Smith, Doug (2008-05-07). "Now that's onions, baby! Swirsky done with Raps". Toronto: thestar.com. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
  9. ^ Mitchell, Fred (2015-05-24). "Ken Harrelson to miss White Sox road trip; Chuck Swirsky to sub". Chicago: Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2017-08-21.

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