RACHEL COHEN, AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Verne Lundquist will call one more season of Southeastern Conference football for CBS before Brad Nessler takes over the sport's highest-rated TV package.
"He's going out on top," CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus told The Associated Press on Tuesday, "and everybody should be so lucky."
Lundquist will still announce college basketball and golf after 2016, including the NCAA Tournament and the Masters.
"Now, it's time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years," the 75-year-old Lundquist said in a release from CBS.
McManus recalled Lundquist's disappointment 17 years ago when he told the announcer he was shifting off the NFL and onto the SEC for the 2000 season. It wound up being the perfect move for both Lundquist and CBS.
As the conference went on its run of national championships, Lundquist was the voice of many of college football's biggest games and moments season after season. He now calls it "the most significant assignment I've been given in my more than five decades in this business."
Nessler rejoins CBS after 24 years at ESPN. He had most recently been calling the Saturday night college football games on ESPN.
Before joining Gary Danielson in the booth in 2017, Nessler will announce some SEC games this fall in weeks when CBS airs two of the conference's matchups.
He and Danielson had worked together previously for ESPN, and McManus said their established chemistry was one reason Nessler was CBS's No. 1 choice once Lundquist decided to step down.
Hiring Nessler was "the perfect solution," McManus said, and he expects a seamless transition.
"He's got a big-time voice, and when you hear Brad's voice, he's one of those announcers that it seems like a big event," McManus said.
Nessler and Lundquist have known each other for more than three decades.
"I am truly honored to carry on where he leaves off and work to maintain the standard of excellence he has set," Nessler said.
Lundquist said he had always admired Nessler's "work ethic and his on-air presence."
"He shares the same passion for college football that I do," Lundquist added.
But first, McManus said, Lundquist "wanted one more year to go out in style."
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