USC Basketball And Angels Announcer Rory Markas Dies
Jan. 5, 2010
Rory Markas, the play-by-play announcer for both the USC men's basketball team and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, passed away on Monday (Jan. 4) at his home in Palmdale, Calif. He was 54.
No details on his death are available at this time. Funeral service information is pending.
Markas was in his 12th season handling the radio play-by-play duties for the Trojans and also spent the past 8 seasons in a similar role on television and radio with the Angels. He also was a reporter for FOX 11 KTTV in Los Angeles.
"The entire Trojan family is shocked and saddened to learn of this sad news about Rory," said USC athletic director Mike Garrett. "We held him and the outstanding broadcasting work he did for us in the highest regard. He was a consummate professional and a well-loved individual. He'll be a very difficult person to replace. We want to extend our support and condolences to his family."
Said USC head men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill: "I've only been at USC a short time, but it didn't take me long to realize that Rory was a top-notch announcer and great guy. It's so sad. He had so many games still in him. Our prayers go to his family and friends in this difficult time."
"Rory was one of the great professionals in the business," said Jim Hefner, who worked with Markas as the analyst on USC radio broadcasts. "But more importantly, he was one of the nicest, kindest people I've ever been around. I'm sure that everyone who worked with him will truly miss him. He was one of a kind."
Previously, Markas handled the play-by-play duties for the USC baseball team on the Trojan Radio Network, as well as pre-game reporting for Trojan football. During that time, he also served as a sports reporter on KNX Newsradio 1070 in Los Angeles and a sports anchor on FOX 11. From 1994-97, he was the lead announcer for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers on the Clippers radio network.
Markas had extensive baseball broadcasting experience prior to joining the Angels, as he worked as a play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers television network (1992-94) and as a substitute radio play-by-play announcer with the Brewers radio network from 1984-1994. He spent 6 seasons calling Pacific Coast League baseball, including 3 years with the Salt Lake City Gulls and 3 years with the Vancouver Canadians.
Markas' career also included stints as an on-air sports talent for KCBS 2 (1990-97) and Prime Ticket (1987-90).
He was honored with several br oadcasting awards, including 4 Golden Mike Awards for radio reporting, and 2 Associated Press Sportscasting Awards. He also received the 2008 Radio Play-by-Play Award from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.
Markas attended Chatsworth (Calif.) High School. He later attended Los Angeles Valley College and Cal State Northridge. He is survived by his mother, Billie, and brothers, Gary and Troy.
Steve Physioc and Pete Arbogast will fill in as the USC men's basketball radio play-by-play announcer for the remainder of the 2010 season.
Physioc, who worked with Markas through 2009 on the Angels' television and radio broadcasts, will announce USC's 7 p.m. game at Stanford on Wednesday (Jan. 6). Because of a conflict with the Lakers' game, that Trojan-Cardinal contest will air on KLAA 830 and KGIL 1260 instead of USC flagship 710 ESPN Radio (KSPN-AM).
Arbogast, who is USC's football radio play-by-play announcer, then will handle the final 15 games of the 2010 season, beginning with Saturday's (Jan. 9) broadcast at California at 7:30 p.m. That game will air on 710 ESPN.
The pair previously filled in for Markas during part of last season when he was recovering from November 2008 surgery to remove a blood clot from the side of his head.
USC will decide on a permanent replacement for Markas after the season.
Hefner will continue in his role as the Trojans' longtime radio analyst.