ON THE SHOW:
Jon Miller (@HawkeyeNation), HawkeyeNation.com - 4:05
Jim Zabel audio from interviews, play-by-play calls, and more
Remembering the legacy of Jim Zabel
QUICK HIT: Remembering "Z"
By Joe Quinn (@joequinnshow)
You could write a lot of things about the man that was behind the mic for the Iowa Hawkeyes for nearly 50 years. The great calls, the catch phrases, the upsets, the legacy, the great coaches, the tough years, or the memories of the man that brought Hawks to life for so many Iowans.
That's not what this is going to be about. Sorry to disappoint many of you early on.
I was born in 1984. By that point, Jim Zabel had been on WHO Radio for forty years.
For that reason, I'm not the right person to even attempt to write any sort of "I remember" story, or pay any sort of tribute. I don't have any real "memories" of Jim...by the time my career really got started, his was for the most part over. I never sat in the booth with him. I never called a game, or even worked the controls for anything he did on WHO Radio.
In fact, I only talked to Jim Zabel a handful of times. He always told me I did a "good job," and I was happy to help with whatever he needed.
So maybe I should just stop now, and save everyone the time. Again, sorry to disappoint. I can't do that either. Because Jim Zabel taught me the most important lesson I'll ever learn in sports broadcasting.
Here's the punchline: You don't work in sports broadcasting, you live sports broadcasting. Nobody, anywhere in the world, demonstrated that better than Z.
Whenever there was a game, Z was there - even if it wasn't the Hawks. He was a true sports "junkie" - always hanging out at press conferences, with fans, coaches, and players alike.
He endeared himself to fans, one at a time in some cases. I've bumped into hundreds of people throughout my short career, and when I tell them I work for WHO Radio, the first thing they'll say is, "I met Jim Zabel once!" Or, "Do you know Jim Zabel?"
Zabel was the voice of the fans, and his legacy is cemented by how he could relate to them, whether through the radio or in person. You don't get to be a legend like Z unless you're out there - living and breathing sports, like he did.
Z was truly a broadcasting legend, and I'm honored to have worked in his company, even for such a short time.