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Sullivan

Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting

Appearance Date: 11/6/2021

As one of the first voices of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program, Claude Sullivan (1924–1967) became a nationally known sportscasting pioneer. His career followed Kentucky’s rise to prominence as he announced the first four NCAA championship titles under Coach Adolph Rupp and covered scrimmages during the canceled 1952–1953 season following the NCAA sanctions scandal. Sullivan also revolutionized the coverage of the UK football program with the introduction of a coach’s show with Bear Bryant—a national first that gained significant attention and later became a staple at other institutions. Sullivan’s reputation in Kentucky eventually propelled him to Cincinnati, where he became the voice of the Reds, and even to the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome. His success was tragically cut short when he passed away from throat cancer at forty-two. In Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting, Claude’s son Alan, along with Joe Cox, offers an engaging and heartfelt look at the sportscaster’s life and the context in which he built his career. Featuring dozens of interviews and correspondence with sports legends, including Wallace & Wah Wah Jones, Babe Parilli, Cliff Hagan, Ralph Hacker, Jim Host, Billy Reed, Adolph Rupp, and Cawood Ledford, this engaging biography showcases the life and work of a beloved broadcast talent and documents the rise of sports radio during the twentieth century.

Meet the Author

Alan Sullivan
Alan Sullivan (with Joe Cox)

Alan Sullivan is the son of Claude Sullivan and began working in the family broadcasting business, Sullivan Enterprises, at age eleven, assisting with the production of Kentucky basketball and football games. He managed the restoration of the Claude Sullivan Collection at the UK Archives and is a UK Fellow and former member of the UK Library National Advisory Board. Joe Cox is an attorney and is the author or coauthor of ten books, including 100 Things Wildcats Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.