Sports / U of U / 
Portrait of Radio personality Bill Marcroft prior to the Texas A&M game Friday September 2, 2004 at Rice Eccles Stadium. Photo by Scott G. Winterton/Deseret Morning News September 2, 2004. (Submission date: 11/01/2004)

Scott G Winterton, KSL, File

Longtime Utah broadcaster Bill Marcroft, the 'Voice of the Utes' for 38 years, has died

By Graham Dudley and Sean Walker, KSL.com | Updated - Nov. 15, 2020 at 12:22 p.m. | Posted - Nov. 15, 2020 at 11:50 a.m.


3 photos

SALT LAKE CITY — Bill Marcroft, the longtime broadcaster and "voice of the Utes," has died, school officials said Sunday.

University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham and athletic director Mark Harlan confirmed the death on Twitter Sunday, calling Marcroft an "icon."

"He was an icon of Utah Athletics for so many years and leaves an incredible legacy behind," Whittingham said. "Sending love to his family. He will be greatly missed."

Harlan said Marcroft "was so kind, and just loved Utah Athletics.

"My best to his family during this difficult time," Harlan wrote.

Marcroft spent 38 years as the "Voice of the Utes," calling football and men's basketball games at his alma mater for KALL 700 radio and KUTV. A 1952 graduate with degrees in theater arts and communications, Marcroft retired following the 2004 football season, which culminated with Utah's win over Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 13-0.

At the time of his retirement, he called 440 Utah football games and 1,088 basketball games, including the 1998 Final Four and national championship.

The University of Utah Athletics hall of famer was also honored by the state's Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, when he received the organization's Distinguished Service Award.

Marcroft grew up in Salt Lake City, acting in plays at South High and making an appearance with the U.'s Pioneer Memorial Theatre's production of Macbeth in high school. He joined the Air Force after graduating from Utah, where he called his first game — the Air Force Championship, a game between military athletes that he called without a spotter or any of the comforts of a modern-day live sports broadcast.

He returned to Utah after his service to work in television, and called his first Utah game in 1966 at the request of Bill Howard, who was then the "Voice of the Utes."

A longtime supporter of his alma mater, Marcroft was a fixture in Utah sports. He called games for the Utah Stars, the state's first professional basketball franchise that played in the ABA from 1970-76, and later criticized the U. when it was in the middle of a two-year scheduling hiatus from playing BYU in football.

"No questions asked, Utah and BYU should play football every year and should have an annual home game and also have a home series in basketball," he said, adding that the Utes should also play Utah State regularly. "It is a game that is unlike any other game in the nation."

Marcroft also left a lasting legacy on Utah's sports media, earning a reputation as a caring mentor and kind friend. Despite their school's noted rivalry, he maintained a lasting friendship with Paul James, the KSL broadcaster who spent most of his career calling games for BYU as the "Voice of the Cougars" whom Marcroft called "a tremendous adversary ... friend, and competitor" at the time of the latter's passing two years ago.

"I am shedding tears this morning learning of the passing of my mentor Bill Marcroft," said former KSL TV broadcaster Rod Zundel on Twitter. "He gave me my start and my first chance in sports broadcasting. Many, many nights of Crown Burger or KFC, getting the 10:00 p.m. sports cast ready. I've learned so much and tried to pattern my style after him.

"More importantly than learning the business, one thing that I admired so much about Billy is every night after the 10:00 p.m. show, he would call his beautiful bride Joyce and tell her that he would be home soon and that he loved her. He was loud, opinionated, compassionate and his laugh was one of a kind. He was my friend. I will miss you, Bill. Thank you for everything."

Added Patrick Kinahan, a 1280 The Zone radio host who covered many of the same teams as Marcroft during his time with the Salt Lake Tribune: "Sad, sad day learning of Bill Marcroft's passing. So many memories with he and Bruce Woodbury over dinners, golf, airports, etc., covering those great Utah hoop teams. Lasting memories. No better true Ute than Bill."

Photos

Graham Dudley
Sean Walker

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