BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It is now one month away from the kickoff for the Alabama Crimson Tide football season, but the voice of the team will stay on the sidelines.
Eli Gold, 68, has done play-by-play for the Tide for half of his life. Due to health reasons, officials announced Wednesday he will not be behind the mic this year.
Gold was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. In addition to doing play-by-play for Alabama football, he has done so for hockey, he was the first to do it for UAB Blazers basketball and four years with the Birmingham Barons.
On Wednesday we spoke with fans at the Barons to see how they are feeling about Gold’s absence this season.
“It’s going to be different, it’s going to be different,” Greg Moore from Hoover said. “It sure is.”
This is an adjustment Alabama fans will have to make this year at kickoff against the Utah State Aggies.
“Just kind of leave me speechless, you know? But wow, it’s going to be devastating because he’s pretty much the voice of the game for Alabama,” Anthony Weston from Gadsden said.
For other Alabama fans, it’ll be a familiar but new sound behind the microphone. In a news release, officials said Chris Stewart who does play-by-play for Alabama basketball and baseball will serve as Gold’s backup.
“It’s going to have a different feel I’m sure, but Chris is great,” Stan Forehand from Trussville said. “Chris Stewart is great. I think it’ll be good.”
Morning Jox Co-Host Landrum Roberts interned with Gold when he started his career.
“I was his producer. Got to learn a lot about the profession, not only sports radio but play-by-play which has been a passion of mine for years and years,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be a familiar voice. It should be a smooth transition.”
Everyone hopeful to hear him call the games again soon.
“We be praying for him and praying for the Alabama Nation,” Weston said. “It’s going to be a big hole to fill if he can’t come back, but I hope he can.”
Stewart will now host “The Nick Saban Show” and “Hey, Coach” broadcasts when they return on Thursday the 18. Officials have not said how long we can expect Gold to be absent.