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Hall of Famer Bob Robertson retires from calling WSU sports

In this Nov. 14, 2009 file photo at Martin Stadium, WSU broadcaster Bob Robertson acknowledges the crowd after the school officially named the Cougars’ broadcast booth after him. (File / SR)

Bob Robertson won’t be behind the microphone for a 590th time this Saturday when No. 25 Washington State plays host to No. 12 Oregon at Martin Stadium.

A fixture in the Cougars’ radio booth for more than a half-century, Robertson announced Monday he’d be retiring effectively immediately, ending a legendary career that spanned 52 years, 10 United States presidents and 10 WSU head coaches, and one that witnessed more than 260 Cougar football victories.

“I’ve been with the Cougars a lot of years, more than half a century, calling basketball, football for the fans around the Northwest and elsewhere around the country and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Robertson said in a school press release. “It’s been great to be with you Cougars at your meetings and get-togethers, and I hope we can do it again and I’m sure we will.”

Robertson, 89, says age influenced the decision to step away from the booth five days ahead of WSU’s highly-anticipated Pac-12 North affair with the Ducks, which coincides with ESPN College GameDay’s first-ever visit to Pullman.

“As of this moment, I’ve now asked the athletic department at Washington State University to list me as a retired, former sportscaster for the Cougars,” Robertson said. “It is a matter of getting old is what it is. Everything seems to move a lot faster around me, I move more slowly. I hope to see you soon, I’m not going to go away. I like Washington State people and the school itself too much to do that. But I am going to be on the retired list, starting immediately.”

Other numbers that define Robertson’s iconic career? He was behind the mic for 589 Cougar football games, including a run of 564. Twelve times he was named the Washington Sportscaster of the Year.

Robertson, who’d spent the last seven years as an analyst on WSU football broadcasts, logged 44 seasons as the program’s play-by-play voice, between 1964-2011, and had just three seasons away from the booth during that timeframe, from 1969-71.

Robertson stamped his broadcasts with a sign-off that’s still identifiable to generations of Cougar fans and alums.

“Always be a good sport, be a good sport all ways.”

A WSU Athletic Hall of Famer who was inducted in 2001-02, Robertson was also selected to the Inland Empire Hall of Fame and in 2004 he was a recipient of the prestigious Chris Schenkel Award. He also became the first broadcaster west of the Mississippi River to earn induction into the broadcaster’s division of the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 2009, WSU recognized his legacy when it named the Cougars’ broadcast booth after Robertson: the Bob Robertson Broadcast Suite.