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Mike Patrick: 'If I Could Do ACC Basketball Again … I Would Jump At That'

March 6, 2018
Mike Patrick, ESPN's long-time play-by-play voice across multiple sports, stepped down from his position in late February but indicated on Glenn Clark Radio March 1 that the decision wasn't necessarily his. 

"I don't even know if it was," Patrick said when asked why this was the right time to step down. "But it was a decision [ESPN] made that I agreed with, and I've already had a couple of offers but they sound too much like work. That's the reason I got into this -- it wasn't work, it was love. So, someone makes me an offer of something I love … if I could do ACC basketball again, which I think is impossible, I would jump at that. I would jump at something like it."

Patrick, 73, said there are other considerations involved with regards to potentially calling games in the future.

"There are aspects of it that I will not miss," Patrick said. "Travel now is awful, and it gets worse every day and it will continue to get worse. I am just so sick of airports and crowded planes and cancelations and you name it, it's made this a very difficult, not job, but very difficult existence to do your job."

Patrick had worked for ESPN since 1982. He called Atlantic Coast Conference basketball for more than three decades and was the play-by-play voice on "Sunday Night Football" from 1987-2005 and for the Women's Final Four from 1996-2009. He also called college football, the College World Series and NFL playoff games.

Patrick said his favorite job was calling ACC hoops, which is something he did even before joining ESPN. Patrick explained that when he worked for WJLA, Washington's ABC affiliate, the station bought the rights to Maryland men's basketball games, so he began working Terps games in the mid-1970s. He'd go on to become a staple of ACC basketball on ESPN. He called more than 30 ACC Tournament championship games.

"The whole Atlantic Coast Conference was the joy of my life, to be able to do, especially before expansion," Patrick said. "There would be six or seven ACC teams in the top 20 every week, and the two or three games I was fortunate enough to do each week, every one of them had an impact nationally, and they were wars. I got to do 30 of those a year. It was insane. And then came the tournament, and I got to do 30 ACC Championship games. And if the regular season was war, I think those were all probably Armageddon."

Patrick called plenty of noteworthy Maryland moments. Patrick called the Maryland football team's 42-40 comeback win at Miami in 1984; Maryland was down 31-0 at one point. He was on the call for the "Miracle Minute," when the Duke men's basketball team came back from down 10 with under a minute to play at Cole Field House in 2001 and beat the Terps in overtime. He called the Maryland men's basketball team's ACC Tournament title run in 2004. And Patrick was the play-by-play man for the 2006 Women's Final Four, when Maryland won it all.

"That Maryland run to a championship was so much fun for me, because I got to know the coaches and I got to know the players and I was so happy for them," Patrick said of the Terps' title in 2006. "They played so hard and so well, and that was a joy to be a part of that."

But some of Patrick's most memorable work involving Maryland might've been early during his ESPN days calling ACC men's hoops. He called the Terps' 74-62 loss to North Carolina in 1984, which featured Michael Jordan and Len Bias trading haymakers. He was also the play-by-play man who called Maryland's 77-72 upset win at North Carolina in 1986, which included Bias' famous reverse dunk.

When asked about Bias, Patrick thought back to a task he was given in which he was to pick the top 100 players in ACC history out of a sample of 650 names. 

"I sat down with a pencil, and I started crossing off names and I thought, 'Well, OK, I'm there.' And I counted them up, there were 240 guys left," Patrick said. "And I went back, 'I can't cross these people off. These guys were three-time All-Americans. They were players of the year. They were the leading scorer in the ACC; how can I cross these people off the list?' It was absolute torture to do that, and I know Len Bias was in my top 10. I think Lenny would've gotten 20 points and 10 rebounds a game with the Celtics every night out. He was just such a great player."

To hear more from Patrick, including his memories of interviewing Arnold Palmer, listen here: 

Follow Luke on Twitter @luke_jackson10 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox