CHICAGO – He had a way to give perspective to a broadcast while at the same time drawing people into the contest with his enthusiasm.
Hearing his “Oh My” call was one of the moments that fans would remember whether he wasgiving the play-by-play of a football, basketball, baseball, or other sporting event during his long career that started at Indiana University and continued through 2016 in San Diego.
Enberg’s daughter, Nicole Enberg Vaz, confirmed the death to The Associated Press. She said the family became concerned when her father didn’t arrive Thursday on his flight to Boston, and he was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood, with his bags packed.
His daughter said the family believes Enberg died of a heart attack but was awaiting official word.
“It’s very, very, very shocking,” said Vaz, who lives in Boston. “He’d been busy with two podcasts and was full of energy.”
Enberg’s wife, Barbara, was already in Boston and was expecting his arrival.
The announcement has brought out an outpouring memories from sports fans across the world and especially here in Chicago.
Enberg had a number of memorable Chicago games that he called with teams from the Windy City. Here are a few of the memorable ones over the years.
SUPER BOWL XX – Bears Beat The Patriots
The veteran play-by-play broadcaster was on hand for one of the greatest moments in Chicago sports history on January 26, 1986 at the Louisiana Superdome. With color commentator Merlin Olsen by his side, he called the Bears’ dominating 46-10 win over the Patriots in New Orleans.
It was the first Bears’ title since 1963 and remains their only Super Bowl championship.
2005 NCAA TOURNAMENT CHICAGO REGIONAL FINAL – ILLINOIS BEATS ARIZONA
Enberg had the opportunity to call a number of significant moments in area College Basketball over the years, with the most famous coming on March 26, 2005.
With a major home floor advantage, No. 1 overall seed Illinois fell behind Arizona by 15 points with four minutes to go in the Chicago Regional. Then the Illini stormed back, making up the deficit before the end of regulation and winning in overtime 90-89 to make their first Final Four since 1989.
The famous call came in regulation, when Deron Williams hit a game-tying three pointer with just over 40 seconds.
“Williams can tie it with a three……He does!” remains one of the iconic calls in the history of Illinois Basketball.
1979 WEST REGIONAL FINAL – DEPAUL BEATS UCLA
A few decades earlier, Enberg was there for one the biggest moment in the history of DePaul Athletics.
Ray Meyer’s Blue Demons faced UCLA in the West Regional Final in Provo, Utah on St. Patrick’s Day in 1979 and came out with a 95-91 win. It clinched their first Final Four berth since 1943 and represented the best moment in Meyer’s incredibly successful tenure at the school.
1974 NOTRE DAME VS UCLA – IRISH END BRUINS’ 88-GAME WIN STREAK
Earlier in the 1970s, Enberg was on hand to witness one of the most exciting games in College Basketball history at Notre Dame on January 19, 1974.
Top-ranked UCLA entered South Bend with an 88-game win streak and led by 11 with three-and-a-half minutes to go. But the Irish caught fire at the end, scoring the final 12 points of the game then holding off a flurry of Bruins’ shots in the final seconds to win it 71-70.
Fans stormed the court as the Irish pulled off the upset of John Wooden’s team that had won the last seven National Championships.
Of course, fans in other cities or of other teams have their favorite moments of the famed broadcaster’s career. You can bet a lot of “Oh My’s” will be recalled as the legendary announcer is remember after his death on Thursday.