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Purdue Basketball Broadcaster Larry Clisby Passes Away

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Purdue basketball has lost its voice.

Xavier v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

March 31, 2019 was heartbreak for every Purdue basketball fan. Thousands of us were crushed in the KFC Yum Center in person, and thousands more around the country. In the wake of that game there were two people that I was most crushed for: Gene Keady and Larry Clisby.

Gene and the Cliz are Purdue basketball. For people like me, they are the enduring icons of more than four decades of Purdue basketball. They have been there for all the heartbreak. Clisby himself called 1,189 games over 40 years. They were there for Big Dog’s back. They were there for 2000. They were there for Hummel and Haas. They were there for That Night in Louisville. Gene Keady deserves to see Purdue play in a Final Four more than anyone, and Larry Clisby deserved to call it.

Sadly, deserved, past tense, is what we have to use.

Larry Clisby was The Voice. His “BULLSEYE” is what every Purdue fan wanted to hear driving in the car on a cold winter night. He was there from the Maui Invitational to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. He was there for the Great Alaska Shootout to the Cancun Challenge. He was there for the noon tipoffs of the NCAA Tournament and the after midnight tipoffs in Alaska and Hawaii. Though retired, he was with the team traveling as late as November.

We knew this was coming though. Stage 4 cancer boasts a pretty strong record, and we were blessed to get two and a half more years from him after his June 2018 diagnosis. It was clear he had lost a step though. He slowly stepped aside for Rob Blackman (a fantastic broadcaster in his own right), and the 2019-20 season was his last as he was the third man, pretty much contributing a “BULLSEYE” when he could. I remember seeing him walk up the tunnel after a home game last season and I was struck by how frail he looked, but his spirit remained strong. The Cliz loved Purdue basketball, and in turn, he helped us love it through his Voice.

One day we will reach the Promised Land again. If the Cubs can win a World Series then Purdue can reach a Final Four. I know the Cliz will be there.

They sent you off with a win last night, Cliz. Good ride.