GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — By the start of the fourth quarter, with victory well in hand for Georgia at the Orange Bowl, reality was setting in for Michigan play-by-play announcer Jim Brandstatter.
“The idea that it was my last game probably hit me,” admitted the longtime voice of the Wolverines.
He hadn’t been avoiding the inevitable, but he hadn’t been celebrating it either. You see, ever since his playing days with Michigan in the early 1970s, Brandstatter has always been a team first guy and he believed any talk about the impending retirement of both he and broadcast partner Dan Dierdorf wasn’t what was best for the show.
“That is where my brain went and I just stayed with it until about four minutes to go in the game,” he explained.
But then the conversation started and there was no turning back.
“To have been doing this for 43 years, I’m the lucky one,” Brandstatter says, echoing his last roads used in his final broadcast on New Year's Eve in Miami.
From the biggest of wins to the toughest of loses, he’s been there through it all, and he says he’s never once taken it for granted.
“When I signed off, I was so grateful.”
Despite it not being a championship year for Michigan, Brandstatter still felt like he was ending on a high note. After all, it would hard to top this year.
“You know, it doesn’t bug me," he said. "Yeah, it would have been great to win a national championship but you couldn’t have written a better script for the final year.”
So now it’s on to retirement. Brandstatter is not sure what that is going to look like just yet, but he does know this:
“I will still be one of the biggest Michigan fans ever.”
The voice made his choice and U of M football will never sound the same again.
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