WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The tributes poured in.
From former players. From current players. From fans.
“There was no one better than Cliz,” former Boilermaker standout Robbie Hummel tweeted. “A true legend as the voice of the Boilers and someone I consider myself lucky to call a friend. I’ll cherish the time we spent together at Purdue.”
Larry Clisby, the radio voice of Purdue men’s basketball for more than 40 years, died Saturday morning at his home in Florida. Clisby was 74.
“Thank you CLIZ!” Forever in our hearts,” current Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr., posted on Twitter.
Clisby retired from play-by-play duties after calling 1,189 Boilermaker games after last season.
“For 40-plus years, Purdue Basketball has been a big part of my life, but I am ready to enjoy retirement and watch the Boilermakers from afar,” Clisby said in November when announcing his retirement. “There have been many great moments working with this program over the last 40 years that I can’t begin to name them all.
“I want to thank coach (Gene) Keady and coach (Matt) Painter and all of our listeners for all of their support and friendship. I will always be a huge Boilermaker fan.”
Clisby has battled health problems over the last several years. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and metastatic brain cancer in June 2018. He continued to serve as the play-by-play voice of the Boilermakers but did cut back on his work schedule last season.
He also battled bladder cancer and melanoma earlier in his life.
“Cliz was more than just Purdue Basketball’s radio announcer. He was truly a part of our team and program for more than 40 years. He had close relationships with current and former players and we always considered him an extended part of our staff,” Painter said in a statement.
“While it’s a sad day for all of us and all our great fans, we should all feel fortunate that he was our program’s voice and cherish those memories of him calling games for the team he loved.”
Rob Blackman took over play-by-play duties on a full-time basis this season, teaming with former Boilermaker graduate Bobby Riddell.
“Listening to The Cliz with my Dad growing up was one of the main reasons I fell in love with @BoilerBall,” Riddell posted on Twitter. “I will cherish all the memories and interactions I experienced with Cliz during his incredible run as part of the Purdue family. RIP to a legend.”
Clisby started his broadcasting career in Paducah, Kentucky, before being hired by WLFI-TV in Lafayette, in 1977. He started in the area by calling high school basketball games and being the set-up man for Purdue Basketball, before moving full-time to become the voice of the Boilermakers in 1982, while also hosting the Gene Keady Show. For over 40 years, his name was synonymous with Purdue Basketball.
He called some of the biggest moments in Purdue history, ranging from Chad Austin’s game-winning shots at Indiana, to Glenn Robinson’s basket vs. Michigan to help give Purdue the 1994 Big Ten championship to Ryan Cline’s stepback 3-pointer against Tennessee in the 2019 Sweet 16. He was a part of nine Big Ten championship seasons, one Big Ten tournament title, 28 NCAA Tournaments and three Elite Eight appearances.
In 2018, Clisby was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Follow Mike Carmin on Twitter @carmin_jc
Need Your Help Today. Your $1 can change life.