CBS ‘Clark Kellogg had a front row seat for Indianapolis’ metamorphosis from sleepy Midwestern city to thriving pro-city that also serves as the home of the NCAA.
Kellogg was designed by the Indiana Pacers in 1983 with the eighth overall win when Indianapolis was still known as “Naptown”. But that was before the city could lure the Colts out of Baltimore and attract a lot of amateur events. The crowning jewel was that the NCAA relocated their headquarters from Kansas City in 1999.
“There are a number of key people who have seen sport as a way to drive economic development and improve the city. I mean, Indiana Sports Corporation is the forerunner to the sports committees you see all over the country now, ”Kellogg said. “That was an amazing period of growth based on the vision and leadership of a few key people.”
Indianapolis had already hosted three Final Fours before it became the home base of the NCAA, but the contract guaranteed the city would be part of the regular rotation.
This is Indianapolis’ eighth Final Four and seventh to air on CBS. This is the sixth time Kellogg has worked either as an analyst on the court or as part of the pregame crew.
Kellogg’s best memory, however, was the court analyst in 2010 when Duke withheld Butler’s Cinderella offer in the championship game.
“The electricity from Butler there, the subject of David versus Goliath, there was so much that resonated on so many levels, but the excitement all over town was unlike any I’ve seen,” he said. “We seldom have a hometown team in the Final Four in the hometown so I’m sure being in Indiana has only raised the level.
“It was also a dramatic game, where it came down to a last-minute shot (Gordon Hayward’s miraculous shot on half the pitch almost went in). You can’t make this up, and when it happened it’s hard to forget. “
Jim Nantz makes his 30th Final Four. His first was in 1991 at the old RCA Dome, when Duke upset the undefeated UNLV in the semifinals and Kanas in the final. It is also one of his favorite memories in 2010.
Nantz said he drove around the butler campus on the day of the game and then found an open door at Hinkle Fieldhouse so he could go in and take a look.
“You could just tell that something magical happened to this team during the drive to the championship game. If Hayward’s shot had been fired, it would not only have been the best result in tournament history, but maybe in the history of a sports championship, ”he said.
Grant Hill was a member of the 1991 Duke team that brought Mike Krzyzewski his first of five NCAA championships. His first Final Four as a CBS analyst was in 2015 when his alma mater defeated Wisconsin in the championship game. It was also the last time Indianapolis hosted until this year.
“Aside from the fact that I had an awful haircut that I am often reminded of when they repeat moments from that year (1991), this was a special time,” said Hill. “Lots of great memories from different areas of my basketball life.”
Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson have fond memories of Arizona’s 1997 title bout. Raftery was the radio analyst when the Wildcats turned down Kentucky’s offer for replay titles with an overtime win.
Raftery was close friends with Lute Olson, the Arizona coach, and remembered the players messing up Olson’s perfectly combed gray hair.
Wolfson was a senior at the University of Michigan but was a production assistant throughout the tournament. During the championship game, she was around the Arizona band, telling them when to play and when the network was going in and out of commercials.
Wolfson’s affinity with Arizona, however, went a little too far after the win.
“I went to this team in Arizona. I just thought she was funny, “she said.” As soon as the game was over, I remember actually running into the pitch to party with them and I think it was (producer) Bob Dekas yelling in my ear, “Get off the pitch, Tracy . ‘It was definitely something special and it’s fun to really come full circle now. “
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