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Legendary Idaho Vandal Broadcaster passes away at age 87

Idaho announcer Bob Curtis called 540 consecutive games.
Idaho announcer Bob Curtis called 540 consecutive games.

Legendary University of Idaho broadcaster Bob Curtis died Wednesday night at his home at Colfax. He was 87.

“Words can’t describe what Bob meant to the Vandal family,” Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said. “His accomplishments as a broadcaster are legendary.

“Through the great times and the grim, Curtis has been the messenger, interpreter, salesman, sage and humorist who made the connection between a university and a constituency that was often one time zone and as much as 400 miles away. For the skidder in Bonners Ferry or the spudder in Shelley, Curtis has been the window not just for UI sports, but for the school, a personality more recognizable than any politician even if the populace knows him only by voice,” Spokesman-Review sports columnist John Blanchette wrote in 2004.

“I’m big in Idaho,” Curtis jokingly told Blanchette at the time.

But, as Blanchette said, that was no joke.

Curtis was a member of the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame, the North Idaho Hall of Fame and the Inland Empire Hall of Fame.

He was also a recipient of the 2008 National Football Foundation Chris Schenkel Award, awarded annually to a sports broadcaster who has had a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football, and was the Idaho Sportscaster of the Year 33 times as chosen by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

“I couldn’t be more sad to hear of the passing of Bob,” Idaho football coach Robb Akey said. “He was a great man, a great friend and a great Vandal. I was proud of the friendship we had. My thoughts and prayers go out to Lynn and the family. We’ll miss Bob – he was a great Vandal; a legend.”

Over a 50-year span, Curtis called 540 consecutive Idaho football games, including a season when he had hip replacement surgery during a bye week and was back on air for the following game. He also called hundreds of basketball games.

Of the many athletes he watched during his years in the press box and courtside, 41 are in the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame.

A service for Curtis will be held on Aug. 3 at 10 a.m., at the Baptist church in Colfax.