Bill Walton's Longtime Broadcast Partner Dave Pasch Reflects on Legend's Impact

The final decade of Pac-12 basketball was synonymous with the Walton-Pasch broadcast duo.
Pac-12 basketball analyst Bill Walton and announcer Dave Pasch hold up drawings for the camera during a game between the Arizona Wildcats and Washington Huskies in 2019.
Pac-12 basketball analyst Bill Walton and announcer Dave Pasch hold up drawings for the camera during a game between the Arizona Wildcats and Washington Huskies in 2019. / Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The final decade-plus of Pac-12 basketball was synonymous with the broadcast duo of play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch and former UCLA star and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton.

Just over one day after the Pac-12 hosted the final game of its existence before realignment—the conference's baseball championship—Walton's family announced Monday that the broadcasting legend died at age 71 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Among the thousands of fans and media members to honor Walton on Monday was Pasch, who began calling Pac-12 basketball games alongside the legend on ESPN in 2013.

"Bill and I had a special friendship," Pasch said. "... He used to tell me a lot, he would take the headset off during a commercial break and just say to me, 'I love you, but don't tell anybody.'

"He just enjoyed the fact that I was his sparring partner. He could have fun with me and just take shots at me. I knew that it was all just part of the game, and off the air we had a great friendship. Bill paid for every meal. I remember the last game I had with Bill was Feb. 1 at USC. ... We were talking a lot about the future. It was a conversation I'll never forget."

The broadcast partners were known to have a fun on-air dynamic with Walton often teasing Pasch or trying to steer their on-air conversation far away from basketball as only he could.

"Just a very sweet man that was very genuine," college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said on ESPN. "Always fun. He was always interested in you. He wasn't the type that was going to sit down and talk about himself. He was going to draw you out and find something about you and your family."

Walton began his broadcasting career in 1990 after winning two national titles at UCLA and playing 14 years in the NBA. He called college and NBA games for CBS, ESPN and NBC and won two Emmy awards in 1991 and 2001.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.