OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – “The man, the mic, the legend.” That’s how Joel Utley was introduced at Saturday’s Kentucky Wesleyan men’s basketball home opener. The former Panthers broadcaster was honored during halftime for his 61 years of work calling KWC games.

From 1961 to 2022, Tri-Staters knew Joel Utley as the “Voice of Kentucky Wesleyan College basketball.” Utley did the radio play-by-play for 1,933 KWC games, making him the college basketball record-holder for total games called as well as play-by-play longevity. He was also inducted into the Kentucky Basketball Association’s “Kentucky Mic Hall of Fame” in 2022.

“I’ve loved what I’ve done, I’ve absolutely loved it,” said Utley. “I couldn’t get to the gym early enough, my wife would tell you that. And I couldn’t get home late enough. Many times I’ve been the last one out of the Sports Center and savoring the activity that has gone on with the young people representing Kentucky Wesleyan College.”

Utley said to the crowd that he actually never worked a day in his life during those 61 years.

“It has been a labor of love, not it’s been a joy of love. I just can never imagine anything I could’ve enjoyed more than Kentucky Wesleyan basketball, and I’m grateful for 61 years. I once thought if maybe I could do 25 and I thought no maybe I’ll do 26, after I did 25 and then 26 I quit counting. The love just continued to flow.”

Former KWC players and staff joined him on the court to celebrate his incredible career. He was presented with a game ball and a banner that will be hung in the Owensboro Sports Center.”