Bob Rondeau, the legendary Voice of the Huskies, is retiring after the 2017 football season. It will be his 37th season as the play-by-play voice of Washington Huskies football.

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One of the giants of Seattle sports broadcasting is calling it quits.

Bob Rondeau, the legendary Voice of the Huskies, is retiring after the 2017 football season. It will be his 37th season as the play-by-play voice of Washington Huskies football.

Rondeau, who began calling UW men’s basketball games in 1985, will not return to the hoops sideline – which ends a 32-year run with the team.

“Being the voice of the Huskies has been the centerpiece of my professional life for nearly 40 years,” Rondeau said in a statement released by UW. “It has allowed me to witness and to chronicle some of the greatest moments in University of Washington athletic history. Also, some of the most difficult. Throughout, I have cherished both the opportunity and the challenge to properly represent a great institution and to be connected to those who so passionately support it.”

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Steve Gahler, general manager of Washington IMG Sports Marketing, said a national search for Rondeau’s successor will begin immediately. Ideally, a new hire would be in place by the end of the summer.

“There will never be another Bob Rondeau. That’s like trying to find another Michael Jordan,” Gahler said.

UW, he said, is open to the possibility of hiring two new broadcasters — one specifically for football and one for men’s basketball.

“We’ll do an all-encompassing search, and I’m sure we’ll have a great deal of interest,” Gahler said. “Seattle is a top-15 market in the country — I can’t think of too many jobs better jobs than this. We’ll open it up and see what’s out there.”


Voices of the game:

Bob Rondeau found his calling in sports ]

Seattle Times staff reporter Percy Allen asks Seattle sports broadcasting legends “How critical can you be?”

Rondeau, a 67-year-old Denver native who graduated from the University of Colorado, got his start in broadcasting in 1972 as a news director at KVFC radio in Cortez, Colo.

He moved to Denver’s KLAK radio for a news anchor/reporter position in 1973 and took a similar job for KRUX radio in Phoenix in 1975.

Rondeau started at KOMO radio in Seattle in 1977 and worked as an analyst for UW football and men’s basketball in 1978 and ’79. He replaced Bruce King and assumed play-by-play duties for football in 1980.

Rondeau’s unmistakable voice — and signature call “Touchdown Washington!” call — became synonymous with UW football.

Over the past four decades, Rondeau became one of the greats in Northwest broadcasting. In 2016 he received the National Football Foundation’s Chris Schenkel Award, which recognizes individuals who have had distinguished careers broadcasting college football with direct ties to a specific university.

Rondeau is the fourth Schenkel Award recipient with ties to the Pac-12 Conference, joining Bob Robertson (Washington State, 2004), Larry Zimmer (Colorado, 2009) and Joe Starkey (California, 2010).

In 2009 Rondeau was  inducted in the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame and he’s a 10-time winner of the Washington State Sportscaster of the Year award that’s given by the National Sportscasters and Sports writers Association.

Rondeau was profiled in a 2009 story of Seattle’s iconic sports announcers that included former Mariners great Dave Niehaus, the Seahawks’ Steve Raible, Washington State’s Bob Robertson and Kevin Calabro, who called Sonics games.

In 2011, Rondeau recounted his most memorable moments at Husky Stadium, which includes his first day in the UW broadcast in 1978 and his 1997 wedding to wife Molly at the 50-yard-line.

“Bob Rondeau is an icon of Husky Athletics,” UW athletic director Jennifer Cohen said in a release. “In nearly four decades of outstanding work, he has narrated many of the most memorable Husky sports moments. His work has been nationally recognized, and he has represented our institution with exceptional class and dignity throughout the decades.

“We all owe Bob a debt of gratitude for his service to this University, and we look forward to sending him off the right way after one final season.”

Rondeau has seen the rise and fall of the UW football and men’s basketball programs several times during his 40 years in Seattle.

He’s called 11 Rose Bowls and last season’s run to the College Football Playoff. He also chronicled UW’s 0-12 season in 2008. For UW men’s basketball, Rondeau has been there for the highs – 10 trips to the NCAA tournament – and lows, including a 9-22 record last season.

Seven coaches have led the UW football team and five have directed the men’s basketball squad since Rondeau came on the scene.

“The departure of Don James was a very, very hard time to be sure,” Rondeau said in a 2015 interview with UWTV. “But universally I have enjoyed my relationships with every coach who’s gone through here. And Chris Petersen is No. 7 for me and I’m enjoying my relationship with him as well.”

During his tenure as play-by-play man the UW football team posted a 275-159-1 record and UW men’s basketball was 525-461. Aside from missing the occasional men’s basketball game due to conflicting schedules, Rondeau has broadcast roughly 1,425 games at Washington.

Those close to Rondeau say they wouldn’t be surprise if he never picks up a microphone again. The avid outdoorsman who loves to fish and play golf has often said he plans to pursue interest outside of broadcasting.

“Well, at some point, I’m going to retire,” Rondeau said during a Seattle Times live chat in 2013. “They’re not going to have to take a crowbar and pry me out of the press box, clutching the microphone.”

Famous phrases

A few of the trademark sayings from Seattle-area broadcasters through the years:
Bob Rondeau, Huskies: “Touchdown, Washington!”
Dave Niehaus, Mariners:  “It will fly away!”
Pete Gross, Seahawks: “Touchdown, Seahawks!”
Kevin Calabro, Sonics:  “Good golly, miss Molly!”
Bob Robertson, Cougars: “Always be a good sport, be a good sport all ways.”
Rick Rizzs, Mariners: “Goodbye, baseball!”
Leo Lassen, Rainiers: “Hang on to those rocking chairs.”