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Joel Utley, voice of the Panthers, announces retirement after 61 years

Joel Utley, the Voice of the Kentucky Wesleyan College basketball Panthers, announced his retirement today after 61 years and the radio play-by-play of 1,933 KWC games. Utley’s 60-plus years make him college basketball’s record holder for play-by-play longevity and total games called.

Utley also has the distinction as the only broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games (all levels) including eight Division II titles — 1966, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1987, 1990, 1999 and 2001.

 “It was a tough decision to make, but the timing is right to step down,” Utley said. “What I have done as a broadcaster reflects my love for KWC. My career has been beyond any dreams I ever had.” His legacy started at the Owensboro Sportscenter on December 2, 1961, when the Panthers defeated California State University – Northridge, 100-64.
“I’m not going to completely retire as I will continue as a loyal fan of our basketball teams, the rest of the Panther sports and my alma mater,” stated the 1974 KWC graduate and Madisonville, Ky. native.
He has been selected to the Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Athletic Hall of Fame (2013) and Alumni Hall of Fame (2020); the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame (2016), plus he received the National Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award (2021). In September, Utley will be inducted into the Kentucky Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame.