When the horn sounds on Kentucky's home basketball game against Georgia on Tuesday, a great American sportcasting career will come to an end.

Brent Musburger announced the 8 p.m. contest will be his final assignment with ESPN. Thus ends a 44-year tenure in front of the national cameras that has covered most of the major sporting events around.

Like many broadcasters who stick around for so long, the 77-year-old Musburger has his detractors who think he should have exited 10 years ago. Yet Musburger always has retained his youthful and exuberant outlook on his telecasts. He has meshed well with analysts from Billy Packer and Dick Vitale on basketball to Kirk Herbstreit and Jesse Palmer on football.

After calling NFL games for a couple seasons, Musburger came into national prominence when he began hosting The NFL Today on CBS in 1975. It was the No. 1-rated NFL pregame show featuring Irv Cross, Phyllis George and Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.

This was the only pregame show anyone watched at the time. It was unique and different and really set in motion what NFL pregame shows look like today.

Musburger also was CBS' play-by-play voice for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, college football and the NBA Finals. He was slated to become the network's play-by-play guy for Major League Baseball when he was fired on the eve of the 1990 NCAA Tournament championship game.

After his CBS firing, Musburger ventured over to ABC. He wasn't the lead dog anymore, but he nicely settled into his new role. When ABC and ESPN merged, Musburger's role expanded and he called everything from the Little League World Series to the Indianapolis 500.

While Musburger will be out of the national spotlight, he won't be completely retiring. His family is starting a sports betting venture called "Vegas Sports Information Network."

Musburger will host the main afternoon show on the network’s SiriusXM radio channel, although he will not be selling picks. Plans are to become a 24-hour network at some point later this year.

PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open (CBS, 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday): Tiger Woods made his long-awaited return to a tour event after 16 months off, but couldn't get to weekend. Oh, well, there goes the ratings.

College BB: Kansas at Kentucky (ESPN, 5:15 p.m. Saturday): One of these powers will come out of this battle at Rupp Arena on a two-game losing streak after both were upset in middle of the week.

Tennis: Australian Open men's final (ESPN, 2 a.m. Sunday): This must be 2007, right? What the heck are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer doing in the final. This could be a late night.

Contact Jim Benson at jbenson@pantagraph.com.

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Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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