There’s Bob Uecker of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jim Irwin of the Green Bay Packers and Mike and Charlie Kearns of La Crosse.
Add Mike Sullivan to the list.
They’re the only sportscasters named to the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
That should tell you a lot about Eau Claire’s legendary sports figure who has aired local broadcasts for 45 years on WBIZ.
“I was nominated by competitor Marty Green (WAXX) and that meant something special,” Sullivan said.
But all good things must come to an end.
After 3,900 plus broadcasts of local sporting events, Sullivan – who also worked in sales – is leaving it behind with a ton of great memories of the games, players and coaches.
“You always wondered if it was time, and it was,” said the 69-year old Sullivan. “There is the different software, my health and other factors.”
The best part, he added, is sleeping in, like 7:30, with hopes of playing some golf if possible.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “I suffered a stroke last July and my right side is still a little weak. I was lucky. But I had to evaluate my situation. It made me a little older.”
Sullivan’s official retirement party was held January 31 but if you’ve tuned in, you know he’s worked a few games since. He was at Madison for North’s state tournament hockey challenge and also called North’s final basketball game.
“I said I would be available if needed,” he said. “I’m going to take the summer off with no radio. I’ll decide in early August it I want to do more.”
For years, Sullivan was the popular voice of Blugold basketball and football along with his busy high school schedule.
He said his interest has always been with the kids.
“It didn’t matter if it was a national championship game in Kansas City or a girls basketball game in Eau Claire,” he said. “I wanted to know more about the teams than anyone in the world.
“I care more about high school sports than anything. Those kids represent us and our city. They’re not spoiled by greed.”
His familiar voice was heard by thousands upon thousands and listeners knew they were getting a top grade report.
“People have asked me if hockey was my favorite sport,” he said. “I tell them it is not, the next game is my favorite sport. They just didn’t have anybody else to do hockey.”
He’s done them all. From horseshoes, to bowling, to ski jumping, to track. You name it.
And his work has been rewarded on a local scale. He received Lifetime Achievement Awards from North and Memorial High Schools and also from UW-Eau Claire.
Sullivan was born in the Minneapolis, spent his formative years in New York and returned to the Twin Cities to graduate from Edina High School.
He attended radio school and met Kris Chinnock, an Eleva native who went to work for WBIZ. After spending three years on the air in Oshkosh, he returned, talked with sports director Lew Kassera and was offered a sports job.
Mike and Kris married in 1977 and daughter Katie, a North graduate, works at the L.E. Phillips Library.
Sullivan took over as WBIZ sports director in 1974 and served through 2014, working with new director Pete Knutson in recent years.
He’s worked with a lot of sportscasters through the years, including Woody Wall.
“I’m a rookie compared to Woody,” he says.
Sullivan was offered a weekend TV position in Green Bay in the early days but declined, saying television is restricted and joked ‘‘I have the perfect face for radio.”
It was not only a good decision for Sullivan, but also for an Eau Claire and Western Wisconsin sports audience blessed by his expertise and deep interest in our youth for nearly a half century.