Max Falkenstein, beloved Kansas announcer, dies at 95
Kansas athletics lost one of its most recognizable voices Monday.
Max Falkenstein, who called Kansas football and basketball, has died at age 95, the school announced Tuesday. No cause of death was given.
Falkenstein was the “voice of the Jayhawks” for 60 years and called more than 1,750 men’s basketball games and 650 football games.
A World War II veteran, Falkenstein’s career began when he returned to the U.S. and covered the 1946 NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, where the Jayhawks played Oklahoma A&M.
He became the play-by-play caller the next season, a position he held until 1984, when he switched to the commentator’s role.
“Max was a member of the greatest generation,” said Bob Davis, who was Falkenstein’s broadcast partner for more than 20 years. “A pioneer sports play-by-play broadcaster in Lawrence and Topeka, and just a fun guy to be around.
“In the years we worked and traveled together we spent much of our time laughing. He once said we should have been married. In all these years I don’t think we’d ever had an argument, so I guess we couldn’t have been married! We had some great times together. I loved him.”
The school loved Falkenstein, as well – he is the only non-athlete to have a jersey (No. 60) hanging in the rafters at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I’ve known Max since 1985, and back then, even being young in the profession, I quickly realized that Max was as big a part of the great history of KU basketball and football as the players and coaches were,” Jayhawks basketball coach Bill Self said. “He was an absolute joy to be around, and he will be remembered as an absolute treasure. He was loved by everyone.”
Falkenstein’s last basketball broadcast was the last game of the 2005-06 men’s basketball season, which marked his 60th season. His last football broadcast was the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl, which saw the Jayhawks defeat Houston.
“It saddens me to hear of the passing of Max,” former football coach Mark Mangino said. “He served as a loyal and dedicated broadcaster for the Jayhawks for six decades. He was beloved by the football team and staff because he truly cared about winning. I feel privileged to have served as head coach with one of the greatest college broadcast teams ever – Max Falkenstien and Bob Davis.”
Falkenstein is survived by his wife of 70 years, Isobel, their two children, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
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