Nail retiring following 2010 season
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Mike Nail, the radio play-by-play voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball program, will retire from that position following the 2009-10 season, the university announced on Thursday.The 2010 season will be Nail’s 29th calling Arkansas basketball games.“This is not a decision reached in haste, rather something I’ve given considerable thought and consideration and something I’ve talked extensively about with my wife and family,” Nail says. “I talked last spring with (Vice Chancellor of Director of Athletics) Jeff Long and Chris Ferris at ISP, and told them I would probably step down after the 2010-11 season, which would have been my 30th year and both gave me their blessing to stay in the position as long as I wanted. However, I finally decided doing another season for the sake of having done it for 30 years wasn’t reasonable or in anyone’s best interest, and informed Jeff and Chris of my intent to end my career at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season last Friday.“I will forever be grateful to Frank Broyles, then-athletics director, and Eddie Sutton, then the Arkansas head coach, for giving me the opportunity to realize one of my life’s dreams which was inspired by my long-time friend Bob Cheyne, former Arkansas sports information director and the ‘Voice of the Razorbacks’ for many years.”Nail’s first season was the 1981-82 campaign. Heading into his 29th season, he has called 906 games.“For nearly three decades, Mike Nail has been the voice of Razorback Basketball,” Long said. “His distinctive delivery and descriptions of many of the greatest moments in our history have given Razorback fans indelible memories and helped shape the identity of our program. Always the consummate professional, Mike’s passion for the Razorbacks and his genuine affection for the coaches and student-athletes he has worked alongside has always been evident in his broadcasts. As we enter what Mike has determined to be his final season, we look forward to celebrating and honoring his tremendous career and legacy as an outstanding broadcaster and a true Razorback.”His experience includes three trips to the Final Four (1990, 1994, 1995), two national championship games (1994, 1995), the 1994 national championship game victory over Duke, 48 NCAA Tournament games, 20 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, eight conference championships and two appearances in the National Invitation Tournament.Nail’s career includes broadcasting games with Eddie Sutton as head coach from 1982 through 1985, Nolan Richardson from 1986 through 2002, Stan Heath from 2003 through 2007 and John Pelphrey since 2008.“I have worked with four great coaches and coaching staffs, and believe John Pelphrey is the perfect coach and leader of young men to return the Razorback program to the national championship level,” Nail says. “There is no bigger fan of the current coach than me. I am looking forward to a successful and exciting 2009-10 season, and then becoming one of the many Razorbacks fans who have served as the backbone of the program and are second to none anywhere in the country and certainly not in the Southeastern Conference.“There have been many highlights — too many to talk about now — but the national championship season and Coach Pel’s return to Kentucky as the Razorback head coach last year rank at the top. My only regrets are that I will not have the opportunity to work with the current athletic administration longer or with ISP, which is the best thing to ever happen to Razorback sports broadcasts and something Jeff Long should be commended for negotiating.” “We consider it an honor to have the opportunity to work with Mike in the first two seasons of our partnership with the University of Arkansas,” Ryan Gribble, ISP’s assistant vice president and general manager of Razorback Sports Properties, says. “His experience and knowledge of the tradition of Razorback basketball is a great asset to our broadcasts. While we will miss working with him in years to come, we certainly look forward to being a part of his final season behind the mic as he describes the action of Razorback basketball.” The former television sports director at Fayetteville’s KPOM/KFAA and KHOG/KHBS, Nail also handled Razorback football play-by-play duties during the 2006 season.His basketball broadcast partners have included Rick Schaeffer and Joe Kleine.