Wednesday, 24th April 2024

Zabel passes away

Posted on 23. May, 2013 by in Iowa Basketball, Iowa Football


By Brendan Stiles

Iowa broadcasting legend Jim Zabel passed away Thursday at his home in Arizona. News of Zabel’s death was first reported Thursday evening by WHO-TV in Des Moines.

He was 91.

In 1944, Zabel joined WHO-AM radio in Des Moines and eventually became Central Iowa’s “Voice of the Hawkeyes,” a title he held from 1947-1996 calling Iowa football and men’s basketball games over the airwaves. Zabel would continue doing work for the radio station beyond his retirement from play-by-play.

Over that time span, the Iowa men’s basketball team appeared in three Final Fours (1955, 1956 and 1980) while the football program made five trips to the Rose Bowl (1957, 1959, 1982, 1986, 1991). He was succeeded by current Iowa play-by-play man Gary Dolphin when Learfield Sports combined the three flagship stations across the state calling Iowa games and formed the Hawkeye Radio Network.

Two of his signature calls with Iowa football came during the 1980s — the Hawkeyes’ 12-10 victory over Michigan in 1985 on a last-second field goal by Rob Houghtlin when the two teams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 nationally, and in 1987 when Chuck Hartlieb threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Marv Cook in the Hawkeyes’ 29-27 victory over Ohio State that season.

Zabel was best known by Hawkeye fans for his line, “I love it! I love it! I love it!”

*Be sure to visit Friday for more on the life of Jim Zabel.

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