Feb. 16, 2002
The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will honor the legendary "Voice of the Illini", Jim Turpin, at the Illinois-Penn State men's basketball game Wednesday, February 20. Turpin, the play-by-play announcer for University of Illinois football and basketball for 42 years, announced his retirement from the broadcast booth in August, 2001 and will broadcast his final Illinois men's basketball home game in the Assembly Hall Tuesday, February 26 when the Illini host Indiana.
Earlier today, Illinois Governor George H. Ryan proclaimed "Jim Turpin Day" on Wednesday, February 20 across the state of Illinois. A formal proclamation will be presented to Turpin during Wednesday's on-court ceremonies. Senator Stanley B. Weaver and State Representatives Rick Winkel and Tom Berns spearheaded the statewide recognition for the "Voice of the Illini".
Locally, the cities of Champaign and Urbana also announced a joint proclamation announcing "Jim Turpin Day" on Wednesday, February 20 in the Twin Cities, thanks to the efforts of Champaign Mayor Gerald J. Schweighart and Urbana Mayor Tod Satterthwaite. At the Illinois-Penn State game, Turpin will be recognized in pre-game on-court ceremonies.
"Jim has been a loyal supporter and a gifted announcer for Fighting Illini athletics for more than four decades," said UI Director of Athletics Ron Guenther. "We are delighted to honor him with a special 'night' in his honor at the Penn State-Illinois basketball game. Jim's name and voice are synonymous with Illini athletics and the University of Illinois has been very fortunate to have Jim as our voice for so many years. Jim has been a great friend of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and has been consistently recognized on a national basis for excellence in broadcasting." In his final season of broadcasting, Turpin has served as the play-by-play announcer for Illinois football and men's basketball games, along with hosting the popular "Ron Turner Show" and "Bill Self Show."
A 1961 University of Illinois graduate, Turpin recently retired as the longtime vice president and general manager of WDWS and WHMS radio in Champaign. He has hosted the extremely popular daily "Penny for Your Thoughts" and weekly "Saturday Sportsline" programs for more than 20 years on WDWS-AM 1400, shows he will continue to host.
"Jim Turpin is probably one of the best play-by-play announcers in the country," said John Foreman, Executive Vice President of WDWS and The News-Gazette. "He's a legend and we have been honored to have him represent us in the booth these many years."
Turpin is a past winner of the Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award, given to Downstate Illinois' best sports play-by-play announcer. He began broadcasting Illinois sports on WILL-AM-FM radio in 1959 and joined the Purity Sunbeam Illinois Network on WDWS-AM in 1977. He has been the regular "Voice of the Illini" on the Illini Sports Network since 1980.
To put Turpin's career in perspective, consider that he has called more than 1,300 Illini games through 10 U.S. Presidents (beginning with Dwight Eisenhower), nine football coaches (beginning with Ray Eliot), six basketball coaches (beginning with Harry Combes) and six Athletic Directors (beginning with Doug Mills).