UCLA has hired Bill Roth as its new play-by-play announcer for football and men’s basketball, officially replacing the recently retired Chris Roberts.
Roth will come to Los Angeles to become the Bruins’ lead radio broadcaster after serving in the same role at Virginia Tech for the last 27 years, a span that saw him earn spots in both the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and the Syracuse University’s WAER Hall of Fame. The 11-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year will end his tenure in Blacksburg with Saturday’s spring game.
“I have tremendous respect for the UCLA tradition, having grown up sitting in front of the television in awe of national broadcasts featuring UCLA teams playing at historic venues like Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl,” Roth said in a statement. “From hearing ‘Sons of Westwood’ blaring through the speakers to witnessing championship teams led by larger-than-life coaches, I am well aware that this is one of America’s most iconic institutions.
A native of Mt. Lebanon, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh, Roth graduated from Syracuse in 1987. After briefly working as the play-by-play announcer at Marshall, he became the “Voice of the Hokies” at just 22 years old. Virginia Tech will establish a scholarship named in his honor, which will be given each year to an athlete with an interest in communications or broadcast journalism.
Roth also said in a statement released by Virginia Tech that it was “an incredibly difficult and emotional decision to leave.” He added that he has family members who live within an hour of Westwood, and that being closer to them played a major role in him taking a new job.
“It’s not every day that you’re able to add a Hall-of-Famer to your program,” said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero. “Bill is as accomplished of a broadcaster as there is in this country, and we could not be more excited to have him put his stamp on UCLA games.
“I know our fans will appreciate Bill’s unique ability to paint a picture of the action with his words and, when everything is said and done, expect that Bill will more than live up to the legacy set forth by the many great UCLA broadcasters that have come before.”
— Listen to samples of Bill Roth’s play-by-play work with Virginia Tech.