Longtime ESPN annnouncer, Mississippi native Ron Franklin dies

Published 1:27 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Ron Franklin, a Mississippi native who became one of the Southeastern Conference’s most recognizable broadcast voices during a long career with ESPN, has died at the age of 79.

Franklin died Tuesday in Austin, Texas, the city’s ABC affiliate KVUE-TV reported.

Franklin was born in Jackson, grew up in Hazlehurst and Oxford, and graduated from Ole Miss. He was the play-by-play announcer for the Houston Oilers from 1971-82, and then for the University of Texas from 1983-88.

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Franklin then moved to ESPN and stayed there for more than 20 years. He called college basketball and football for the network, and from 1987 to 2005 was the play-by-play announcer for its primetime college football game — often an SEC contest — on Saturday nights.

Franklin stayed at ESPN until 2011, when he was fired for comments directed at a female sideline reporter during a production meeting.

“Just heard the news of the passing of the human larynx Ron Franklin,” broadcaster Tim Brando, himself a well-known voice of college football, posted on Twitter. “I prefer remembering him for the incredible voice & talent he possessed. A perfectionist he needed & demanded a level of concentration of himself and those around him.”