Voice of the WildcatsClaude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting

Voice of the WildcatsClaude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting

Alan Sullivan and Joe Cox

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780813147031

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky


Claude Sullivan was a brilliant young man whose athletic career and studies were cut short by a near-fatal case of osteomyelitis while he was in high school. Claude found a niche in broadcasting. With his wife, Alyce, he took several jobs and moved around, before beginning full-time broadcasting of University of Kentucky sports in 1947. Claude broadcast many of the most memorable UK football and basketball squads of alltime in the next two decades, building relationships with coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Adolph Rupp. Claude also broadcast horse racing and later in his career Major League Baseball as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds. On a personal level, Claude was a mentor to many young broadcasters and a devoted husband and father. His interest in international travel manifested itself in several grand episodes that provided career highlights. Claude was also a business leader in broadcasting—creating an early sports radio network, running his broadcasts through his own company, and embracing early mobile technology. Claude developed cancer by 1966, and despite initial success in treatment, his condition deteriorated until his death in 1967. The impact of his work is still felt throughout sports broadcasting in Kentucky and the nation. Many of his broadcasts are preserved in the Claude Sullivan Collection in the University of Kentucky Archives, and between the highlights of those broadcasts, Claude’s own private documents, and the vast library from his career that he left behind, the inside story of a great Kentucky broadcaster now emerges.