Paul James passed away on Saturday at the age of 87. Players and fans of BYU sports have many reasons to honor and miss the legendary broadcaster. Sportsline reporter, Kim Petersen, looked back at the life and legacy of “the Voice of the Cougars.”
Today, we remember Paul James, who was something of a legend on BYU campus. During his career as a sports announcer, he was known as the “eyes, ears, and voice” for cougar sports, broadcasting BYU games for 36 years.
During that time, he made play-by-play commentaries for more than 500 football games and over 900 basketball games. His commentaries will be fondly remembered, and even though he will be greatly missed, he left behind a legacy at BYU.
Greg Wrubell, Director of Broadcast Media for BYU Sports, said, “Basically he set me on the path I’m still on today. I wouldn’t have the job I do now were it not for Paul James. His influence was deeply felt by thousands upon thousands of fans over generations who really relied on Paul for the events of the game. He loved BYU and they loved him right back.”
Greg Wrubell knew how much BYU football meant to Paul James.
James became a familiar voice for BYU fans during the nearly four decades he announced sports games.
Dennis Barnett, long-time fan and volunteer for BYU sports, said, “I loved listening to him call football and basketball. The thing I remember most about Paul James is his enthusiasm, his preparedness, and the fact that he was the ultimate professional.”
It was clear that James had an incredible impact on BYU sports fans. However, his good friend, Wesley Ruff, from ABC4 News said that James was more than a sports man. “He was just a good guy. His life was not defined just by wins and losses of BYU football and basketball.”
Ruff will never forget his last visit with James. “So I called and said, ‘hey I’m taking you to lunch, can you go next Tuesday?’ He said, ‘Okay great, come pick me up.’ And it was a great lunch. And then I took him home and said, ‘We need to do this again,’ and then he passed away. So I’m glad I got to do that.”
Paul James will always be remembered as the legendary voice of cougar sports. He touched many lives and made a lasting impact wherever he went.