The classy style of Ron Franklin, ESPN’s voice for Big 12 basketball and a longtime college football announcer, will be missed by sports fans if he goes through with plans to retire when his network contract expires in April.
After 44 years in sportscasting and 22 years at ESPN, Franklin, said he’s "98.5 percent sure” he will retire after broadcasting the 2010 NIT championship. "I think this is going to be my last rodeo,” he said this week. "I will not miss the travel. It’s just really beginning to beat me up. Obviously, I’ll miss the people — the coaches, the players, you get to know so many people.” Franklin, 67, who has had a few run-ins with ESPN executives in recent years, said he planned to continue to do some television work in his hometown of Austin, Texas. "I’m going to stay active down here and do some commercial work,” he said. Franklin, a University of Mississippi graduate, has broadcast Big 12 basketball games for ESPN since the league’s inception, most recently working with analyst Fran Fraschilla, and also covered Big Eight games before that. Unlike some announcers, he has always treated Oklahoma teams with much respect and is well-versed in their traditions. A former sports director at KVOO-2 (now KJRH-2) in Tulsa (1967-70), Franklin said he has always enjoyed covering games in Oklahoma. "I feel I know the people and know a little bit about the state,” he said.