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July 29, 2011

Jack Dale was one of the best

It's a rite of passage when talking about sports.

Old guys like me get to recount a momentous event or experience to some young guys who think they know it all. "Oh yeah," the old guy invariably says. "You think so and so is good, well you should have seen old so and so."

It's a timeless exercise that will be repeating itself among generations of sports fans long after I've come and gone.

So let me tell you young guys something, you should have heard Jack Dale in his prime.

With the news of Jack's passing, I along with a legion of other Red Raiders, mourn the loss of a man that you really don't find in sports anymore. Jack Dale was an icon. He transcended what he did behind the microphone. He was a man whose very voice became synonymous with the school which he covered.

Let me tell you young guys something; you haven't lived until you heard Jack's rich voice on a cold winter night bringing you the action of the Red Raiders on the hostile hardwood at Moody Coliseum. You haven't experienced goose bumps until you heard Jack call a Rodney Allison touchdown pass or a tackle behind the line of scrimmage by Senor Sack.

We are spoiled in today's media frenzy. We complain when a game isn't readily available on television or the Internet. We go into withdrawals when we can't call up all of the latest news on a website like this one on our phone or whatever device is handy. We are saturated with Red Raider Sports and we yearn for more.

But in a simpler time, when any broadcast was a treasure and any news was hungrily devoured, it seemed like all we had was Jack Dale. And that was more than enough.

Jack in his prime was as good as anyone in the country. His signature voice let you know it was gameday. For more than 50 years he was THE voice of Texas Tech athletics. Fifty years! He had numerous opportunities to leave but he stayed here much to the delight of thousands of fans who could not fathom a Tech football or hoops game without Jack calling the action.

Jack was more than the man behind the mic; he was a Red Raider, just like us.

But beyond the baskets and the touchdowns, Jack Dale was also a prince of a man. Once while I was in college, I interviewed Jack for a class project. It was in the middle of a football season and he was going in 50 different directions, but he sat down with me and gave me his undivided attention for 30 minutes. I'm not alone on that boat, I've heard countless of other stories from aspiring sports reporters who were thrilled to have had a moment of Jack's time -- like me they realized the enormity of his talent and his station in the sporting world.

Our hearts go out today to the Dale family on the loss of their patriarch. The entire Red Raider nation mourns the loss of a giant, a man who leaves an impossible void to fill.

But I along with thousands of others am also honored to have been able to experience the greatness Jack delivered every time his mic went hot. His 50 plus years will never be forgotten.

You guys should have heard him back in the day.

Rest in Peace Jack Dale.


Texas Tech NEWS

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