Gary Nedrow Bender
September 1, 1940
|Education||Wichita State (Undergraduate) |
University of Kansas (Masters)
|Children||2, including Trey|
Gary Nedrow Bender (born September 1, 1940)  is a retired American sportscaster and 2008 inductee into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He officially retired, April 13, 2011, from Fox Sports Arizona network after 18 years calling the NBA's Phoenix Suns games.
Bender, who was born in Norton, Kansas, and raised in a nearby town of Ulysses, Kansas, graduated from Ulysses High School in 1958. He then attended Wichita State University (then known as the University of Wichita), graduating with a journalism degree in 1962 and a master's degree from the University of Kansas in 1964. Bender then began his broadcasting career calling games at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS and then went on to do the same at the University of Kansas' football and basketball programs in the 1960s. He also spent years as a broadcaster in Wisconsin and called all of the Wisconsin Athletic Association championship games, as well as Green Bay Packers radio and Milwaukee Brewers television in the early 1970s.
CBS Sports (1975-1987)
He did play-by-play for the NFL on CBS from 1975 to 1981, and again in 1986 (among his partners were Johnny Unitas, Sonny Jurgensen, Hank Stram, and John Madden, all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame) and the 1981 NBA Finals along with color commentators Rick Barry and Bill Russell, both members of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He was CBS' first play-by-play announcer for the network's coverage of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, calling the Final Four alongside Billy Packer in 1982, 1983 and 1984. In 1982 and 1983, he was CBS' lead college football play-by-play man.
ABC Sports (1987-1992)
On October 27, 1987, Bender (along with Lynn Swann) called the Monday Night Football game between the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings. That game had been scheduled for October 26, but when the Minnesota Twins (who at the time, shared the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome with the Vikings) played Game 7 of the World Series that day, the football game was moved to Monday and shown to a regional audience.
Major League Baseball on ABC
As previously mentioned, Bender did play-by-play for the 1988 American League Championship Series between the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox. Bender spent two years (1987-1988) as the #2 baseball play-by-play man for ABC behind Al Michaels. Bender worked the backup Monday Night Baseball broadcasts (with Tim McCarver in 1987 and Joe Morgan in 1988) as well as serving as a field reporter/post-game interviewer for ABC's 1987 World Series coverage.
Bender also called NFL games for TNT from 1992 to 1994, teaming with Pat Haden. On December 17, 2009, Bender filled in for Marv Albert, who was battling throat problems, to call the Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers game on TNT and called the game with Reggie Miller.
FSN-Arizona and Versus
As previously mentioned, for 18 years, Bender was the television play-by-play announcer on Fox Sports Net (FSN-Arizona) for the National Basketball Association's Phoenix Suns; he worked alongside former Suns players Eddie Johnson and Scott Williams. In 2006, he was named as the play-by-play announcer for the Versus network's coverage of Mountain West Conference football, where he would be partnered with former NFL player Glenn Parker.
Bender did a series of Kendall Motor Oil commercials in mid-1980s.
In the first five months of 2001, Bender presided as host of the nationally syndicated Focus on the Family radio show after the resignation of previous host Mike Trout (1985–2000) because of an extramarital affair. Bender was replaced on a full-time basis by Focus vice president of broadcasting John Fuller.
Gary Bender is an alumnus of the Kansas Delta chapter of Phi Delta Theta at Wichita State where he received his bachelor's degree. He received his master's degree in radio and TV from the University of Kansas.
- 1969–1975: WKOW-TV Madison, Sports Director
- 1970–1974: Green Bay Packers Play-by-play (radio)
- 1975: Milwaukee Brewers Play-by-play (TV)
- 1975–1981, 1986: NFL on CBS Play-by-play
- 1977, 1979—1986: NBA on CBS Play-by-Play (Lead Play-by-Play from 1980—1981)
- 1981–1987: College Basketball on CBS Play-by-Play (Lead Play-by-Play from 1981–1984)
- 1982–1986: College Football on CBS Play-by-Play (Lead Play-by-play in 1982 and 1983)
- 1987–1988: MLB on ABC #2 Play-by-Play
- 1987: World Series Reporter
- 1987–1992: College Football on ABC Play-by-Play
- 1988–1991: Phoenix Cardinals Play-by-Play
- 1992–1994: NFL on TNT Play-by-Play
- 1992–2011: Phoenix Suns Play-by-Play on FSN Arizona
- 1995–1998: St. Louis Rams Play-by-play (radio)
- 1999–2000: Chicago Bears Play-by-play (radio)
- 2003–2005: College Football on ESPN Play-by-Play
- 2006: College Football on Versus Play-by-Play
- Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (KSHOF)
- Young, Bob (28 March 2011). "Suns broadcaster Gary Bender announces retirement". azcentral.com. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Dougherty, Pete (29 March 2011). "Longtime network announcer Bender retires from broadcasting". timesunion.com. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (KSHOF)
- Sarni, Jim (7 October 1988). "Abc Is Good Or Bad, Depending On Series". Sun Sentinel.
- Sandomir, Richard (27 March 1992). "SPORTS MEDIA: TV SPORTS; Specter of Strike Scrambles Cable Schedules". The New York Times.
- http://www.phideltatheta.org/ at the Wayback Machine (archived April 30, 2003)
- Hall-of-Fame sportscaster calls life as he sees it
| Play-by-Play announcer, NBA Finals
| Play-by-Play announcer, NCAA Men's Final Four
| #2 play-by-play announcer, Major League Baseball on ABC