Don Fischer: Sportscaster

BY JEREMY SHERE

For the past 38 years, Don Fischer has been the voice of Indiana University football and basketball. He’s done play-by-play for more than 1,600 games, including three IU NCAA basketball championships (1976, 1981, 1987) and eight IU football bowl games, as well as hosted weekly coaches shows and anchored the daily radio program IU Sports Today. He’s won nearly every sports broadcasting award, including being named Indiana Sportscaster of the Year 25 times. In recognition of his long-standing excellence, Fischer was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2004, and in 2010 was voted into the Indiana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

Yet Fischer’s celebrated career almost ended as soon as it began, in 1968, as a 21-year-old play-by-play rookie calling his first high school football game for WOLI-FM in Ottawa, Illinois. “I set broadcasting back forty-five years; I was horrible, and I knew it,” says Fischer, now 65. “I simply wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know how to prepare.”

Given one more chance by his station manager, Fischer took a private crash course with veteran sports-radio broadcaster Art Kimball (the voice of Illinois State University football and men’s basketball during the ’70s and early ’80s) and eventually mastered the intricate art of play-by-play. He hasn’t looked back since.

What keeps Fischer going, game after game, year after year, is the thrill of bringing games to life for his listeners. “The greatest compliment a guy like me can get is for listeners to say that they were able to visualize the game in their minds. That’s the job, to allow fans to feel the excitement, thrills, and disappointments of the game.”

Fischer is still going strong, calling games, hosting radio sports shows, and anchoring Indianapolis Colts preseason telecasts. When he’s not in the broadcast booth, Fischer enjoys competing on the golf course, playing several tournaments a year as a member of the Indiana State Seniors Golf Association. He also loves spending time with his wife, Susy; their four boys, Chad, 45, Patrick, 43, Scott, 40, and Matthew, 38; and their eight grandchildren.

Fischer’s true and lifelong passion, though, remains doing play-by-play. “I always wanted to be part of a team, even though I wasn’t much of an athlete,” Fischer says. “Calling games allows me to feel connected to a team and to a sport, to be part of something bigger than myself.”

Comments

  1. Jeremiah Boyce says:

    Hi Don, I was wondering if there will ever be a way I could do a story on you or coach Crean? I’m a sports writer and have my own website called jeremiahboyce.com.

    Thanks again Jeremiah.

  2. nancy kent says:

    I’m an alum and a native Bloomingtonian. I watch the game on TV and listen to you on the radio. How is coach? (my favorite of your radio partners)

    Thanks,
    Nancy E Kent

  3. buck hatton says:

    We have been I.U. Fans since 1953 and love Don on the radio. Sometimes we turn the TV to mute and listen to him call the games. Great Announcer and does a very Good Job on the radio.

    Thanks Don for all the good work you have done, keep it up.

  4. Jack Bixler says:

    Thanks Don for making the Hoosier games exciting! I am an avid listener and never watch the games without the radio tuned to your broadcast. Thanks to WOWO I have listened to the games in Florida and Puerto Rico. Keep up the great work and Don!.

  5. Jack Bixler says:

    I never watch a Hoosier game without the radio tuned to the game!! You make the game come to life like no other! Your best broadcast was the game against UK when Christian Watford made the 3 pointer at the buzzer! I have that saved on my computer!

  6. Jerry Daniel says:

    Don,
    I’m a 1957 grad from IU and served as Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior Manager of the Hurryin’ Hoosiers. I tremendously enjoyed reading this years “Don Fischer’s Basketball Magazine”. Living in California, I don’t get many chances to watch this years team (I did catch today’s victory over Ohio State on ESPN) and of course I can’t listen to your mellifuous tones on radio. Thanks so much for all you do for old IU

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