Veteran Okla. sports announcer Bob Barry Sr. dies

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Longtime Oklahoma sports announcer and KFOR sports director Bob Barry Sr. died Sunday, KFOR news director Mary Ann Eckstein said.

Barry, 80, was found dead in his Norman home. "He didn't get his morning papers and his neighbors became concerned," Eckstein said. She had no other details and said a cause of death had not been determined.

Barry was sports director at Oklahoma City's KFOR until 1998, when he was succeeded by his son, Bob Barry, Jr.

Barry Sr. continued providing reports for the television station until retiring in 2008.

He became the radio play-by-play voice of the University of Oklahoma in 1961 when he was chosen by OU football coach Bud Wilkinson. Barry held the job until the team's radio rights changed in 1972.

He returned as the voice of the Sooners in 1991 after providing basketball and football play-by-play for Oklahoma State University and basketball play-by-play for the University of Tulsa in between his OU stints.

Barry retired last spring at the end of the OU basketball season, having spent 50 years calling Division I college games in the state. He said he did so for health reasons and because he didn't feel his vision allowed him to perform up to his standards.

"Something you love to do your entire life and you're able to do it and get paid for it, it's hard to let go," Barry said in August of last year when announcing his plans to retire. "Really, part of me doesn't want to let go but the other part says, 'It's time.'"

OU President David Boren said Barry was "loved by Oklahomans" across the state.

"Bob Barry represented the best of the Sooner spirit. With his contagious enthusiasm, he was 1 of the best sports broadcast journalists in the entire nation," Boren said in a statement released by the university.

Barry began his career calling football and basketball games at Norman High School before he was noticed by Wilkinson, whose sons attended the school.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.