Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Legendary IU radio voice Don Fischer the recipient of the 2022 NFF Chris Schenkel Award

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that Indiana University broadcaster Don Fischer will be the recipient of the 2022 NFF Chris Schenkel Award. He will officially be honored Dec. 6 during the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas at Bellagio Resort & Casino.

First presented in 1996, the award recognizes individuals who have had long, distinguished careers broadcasting college football with direct ties to a specific university. The award is named in honor of its inaugural recipient Chris Schenkel, the longtime ABC Sports broadcaster who emceed the NFF Annual Awards Dinner for 28 consecutive years from 1968 to 1995. Schenkel was a native of Indiana and graduated from Purdue.

“For half a century, Don Fischer has been the iconic ‘Voice of the Hoosiers,’” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “His voice is absolutely synonymous with Indiana athletics, and he is well-known for making radio listeners feel like they are actually at the games. His memorable calls of ‘Touchdown Indiana!’ have a become an emotional touchstone for Hoosier fans wherever they may be listening. We are pleased to honor him with the 2022 NFF Chris Schenkel Award in recognition of his distinguished career.”

Fischer will enter his 50th season as the “Voice of the Hoosiers” this fall, having started his time calling Indiana football games in 1973 at the age of 26.

In addition to broadcasting games, Fischer hosts the weekly coaches talk shows for both football and basketball. He also offers stations a weekly talk show about IU football and basketball that airs in several markets around the state during the school year.

Fischer has broadcast more than 2,000 Indiana University games, including 12 bowl games, five NCAA basketball Final Fours, four NCAA basketball championship games and two NIT championship games.

Fischer’s tenure at Indiana included the standout career of College Football Hall of Famer Anthony Thompson, who won the 1989 Maxwell and Walter Camp awards and finished second for the Heisman Trophy after leading the nation in rushing and scoring that season. The two-time consensus First Team All-American finished his career with the all-time FBS record for touchdowns.

Fischer was on the call for the great Hoosier football teams of the late 1980s led by head coach Bill Mallory that defeated Ohio State in consecutive seasons. Those teams were also the last to beat Michigan until the Hoosiers ended their losing streak to the Wolverines in 2020.

Other standouts from Fischer’s time behind the mic include First Team All-Americans Vaughn Dunbar and Antwaan Randle El, who both appeared on the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, as well as three NFF National Scholar-Athletes in Ben Chappell (2010), Mark Murphy (2014) and Kevin Speer (1980).

During his years of work in Indiana, Fischer has been named the state’s Sportscaster of the Year 31 times by two different organizations. The National Sports Media Association has honored him 27 times while the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association has named him their honoree four times.

In June of 2018 at the NSMA Awards program, Fischer was named the first recipient of the Woody Durham Voice of College Sports Award. He is a member of both the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame and the Indiana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

Fischer has won several awards for best play-by-play, and he has been honored by Indiana University with the J.W. Bill Orwig Medal, which goes to non-alumni for distinguished service to the University. In 2020, IU presented Fischer with the Bicentennial Medal in recognition of distinguished service in support of the mission of Indiana University. He was also named an Honorary “I” Man in 1991.

From 1973-87, he worked for ABC Radio, Canada’s CBC and several other major market radio stations, including WIRE in Indianapolis, where he covered the Indianapolis 500. During that 14-year period, he also served Indianapolis radio station WIRE and Network Indiana, a statewide news network, as its sports director.

As an independent contractor, Fischer served the Indianapolis Colts as their preseason television anchor for 23 years from 1995-2017. In addition, the City of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana have each honored him with a special “Recognition Day” for his service and abilities as a play-by-play broadcaster.

A native of Rochelle, Illinois, Fischer has been in the radio business for 54 years with stops in Butte, Montana; Ottawa, Illinois; Springfield, Illinois; and Terre Haute, Indiana. He has four sons, 12 grandchildren and one great grandchild. He and his wife, Susy, reside in Greenwood, Indiana.

Fischer becomes the fifth NFF Chris Schenkel Award recipient from an institution currently in the Big Ten, joining Ray Christensen (Minnesota – 2000), Bob Brooks (Iowa – 2002), Johnny Holliday (Maryland – 2006) and Frank Beckmann (Michigan – 2014).

Fischer will be honored during the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 6 alongside the recipients of the other NFF Major Awards, including Kentucky director of athletics Mitch Barnhart (NFF John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration) and other honorees yet-to-be announced.

In addition to the presentation of the NFF Major Awards, the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas will provide the stage for the induction of the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2022 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Presented by Fidelity Investments; and the bestowing of the 33rd William V. Campbell Trophy® to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

The 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class  includes LaVar Arrington (Penn State), Champ Bailey (Georgia), Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), Sylvester Croom (Alabama), Mike Doss (Ohio State), Chuck Ealey (Toledo), Kevin Faulk (LSU), Moe Gardner (Illinois), Boomer Grigsby (Illinois State), Mike Hass (Oregon State), Marvin Jones (Florida State), Andrew Luck (Stanford), Mark Messner (Michigan), Terry Miller (Oklahoma State), Rashaan Salaam (Colorado), Dennis Thomas (Alcorn State), Zach Wiegert (Nebraska), Roy Williams (Oklahoma) and coaches John Luckhardt (Washington & Jefferson [PA], California [PA]), Billy Jack Murphy (Memphis) and Gary Pinkel (Toledo, Missouri).

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