In his 52nd year calling Cougar athletics, Robertson is calling it quits. "It is a matter of getting old is what it is," the legendary broadcaster said in a news release.
Bob Robertson won’t be behind a microphone for a 590th time Saturday when 25th-ranked Washington State plays host to No. 12 Oregon in a Pac-12 football game at Martin Stadium.
A fixture in the WSU radio booth, Robertson announced Monday he was retiring, effective immediately, ending a career that spanned 52 years, 10 United States presidents and 10 Cougars head coaches. He described more than 260 WSU 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 news release distributed by the school. “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, said age influenced the decision to step away from the booth five days before WSU’s game against the Ducks, which coincides with the first visit to Pullman by ESPN’s “College GameDay” show.
“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.”
More numbers that define Robertson’s iconic career? He was behind the mike for 589 Cougars football games, including 564 straight. He was voted Washington Sportscaster of the Year 12 times.
Robertson, who 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 and 2011. He had three seasons away from the booth during that span, from 1969 to ’71.
Robertson stamped his broadcasts with a signoff that is still identifiable to generations of WSU fans and alums:
“Always be a good sport, be a good sport all ways.”
A member of the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame and Inland Empire Hall of Fame, Robertson in 2004 was a recipient of the prestigious Chris Schenkel Award. He became the first broadcaster west of the Mississippi River to earn induction into the broadcasters’ division of the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 2009, WSU recognized his legacy when it named the broadcast booth after him: the Bob Robertson Broadcast Suite.
“When you think of the icons of Washington State Athletics, Bob Robertson certainly comes to mind,” said athletic director Pat Chun.
Football was his niche, but Robertson demonstrated versatility that allowed him to serve as the voice of WSU basketball for 23 years.
He spent three decades calling Pacific Coast League baseball in Seattle and Tacoma. He broadcast multiple forms of pro soccer in the Pacific Northwest. The longtime voice of baseball’s Spokane Indians, Robertson branched out to also broadcast hockey, boxing, wrestling and hydroplane races.
The Fullerton, Calif., native attended Western Washington University, where he started his broadcast career. He married his wife, Joanne, in 1952.
Bob and Joanne Robertson were together for 59 years before Joanne died in 2011.
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