Vault: WEWS sports icon Nev Chandler who called games for Indians, Cavs and Browns died 20 years ago

Sportscaster called Tribe, Browns and Cavs games

CLEVELAND - Nev Chandler passed away 20 years ago.

The legendary Cleveland sportscaster lost his battle with cancer August 7, 1994 at age 47.

Upon his passing, WEWS did a 30-minute special which I’ve posted in two parts in our video player. 

The special, hosted by Ted Henry, contains a who’s who in Cleveland sports and broadcasting.

Art Modell, Gib Shanley, Casey Coleman, Jim Donovan, Doug Dieken, Dick Goddard, Bob DiBiasio of the Indians, Matt Underwood and many of his friends and co-workers appear in the special.

Underwood was an intern at WEWS under Nev. He would eventually take the role Nev once held as main sportscaster at WEWS before leaving in 2000 to do the Indians broadcasts.

Nev’s career included two stints here at WEWS.

He came to WEWS in 1972 after working at WVIZ and WKBF (channel 61). Nev worked the assignment desk at WKBF in channel 61’s 10 o’clock news days of the 70s.

He worked the assignment desk at WEWS until he made the move to sports under Gib Shanley. He moved to the radio booth with Herb Score in 1980 calling Tribe games from until 1984.

When Gib left for Los Angeles in 1985, Nev returned to WEWS as sports director/anchor. He stayed in that post until his death.

Though small in stature, he was a giant among play-by-play announcers and TV sportscasters. He had a heart to match, beloved by all in Cleveland sports and broadcasting.

Nev called the Browns on radio, the Cavs and Force on TV and the Tribe on radio.

“5,4,3,2,1 touchdown Browns!” and “Serenading the team with a chorus in boo flat.” were just two of his memorable calls.

He was also a master of impersonations.

Art Modell, John Cooper, Hal Lebovitz, Jim “Mudcat” Grant and Herb Score – Nev did them better than they did themselves.

In one case of impersonation, Nev called an entire AAA baseball game as two people, he and Herb Score.

During the 1981 MLB strike, the Indians had he and Herb Score call their minor league affiliate Charleston Charlies games.

That meant Herb Score and Nev would be on the road all the time doing the home and away AAA games.

After a week or so of this, they demanded just one of them do the games. A rotation was set for Herb to do a week then Nev the next and so on.

Nev was sure no one in Cleveland cared or was listening, a point he would prove.

During the second inning of a game, Nev said, ‘Oh, look who has joined us, my partner, the old left hander, Herb Score’. But there was no Herb, it was a set up for Nev to do both voices, his own and Herb.

For the rest of the game, he called the game as a two-man team coming from one mouth, nobody was the wiser.

Nev loved to talk sports and was friend to anyone who would come up to him to do so.

Often those of us from the station would go out after the 11 p.m. newscast to a local watering hole. When someone would come up to Nev to ask a sports question, he often asked the stranger to join us.

A devoted family man, he is survived by wife Cindy and children Scott and Ashley.

His nephew John Chandler worked as a sports reporter and anchor at WEWS. Today, John is at WNBC in New York as a sports anchor.

Nev left us far too early. He set the bar for talent and professionalism in Cleveland.

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