Legendary Shocker announcer Gus Grebe dies at 102
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Gus Grebe, the former radio announcer for Wichita State athletics who coined the phrase “put it in the ol’ deep freeze” when games were out of reach for Shocker opponents, died Tuesday at his home in southern California, family confirms. He was 102.
Grebe called WSU football and basketball from 1966-73 and earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement” for his colorful calls and energetic demeanor. He was so into football games that he would hang out of the press box, and he once famously stood on the broadcast table during a Shocker basketball game against Louisville.
Appearing on The Drive With Bob and Jeff on KFH Radio last year, Grebe discussed that animated incident.
“That was something that just came automatically,” Grebe said in April 2020. “(Louisville coach) Denny Crum was arguing with an official, and it was right in front of the broadcast booth. I couldn’t see or couldn’t understand, so I just climbed on top of the table to hear what was going on. People seemed to notice, and it wasn’t until afterward that it dawned on me what I’d actually done.”
Grebe lived in Upland, Calif. since 1979 following his stint as WSU announcer. He spent those years as an avid reader and he continued to follow Shocker basketball. Between his time in Wichita and California, he worked for the Kansas City Chiefs, doing radio postgame shows.
Nearly 50 years after his last call, Grebe is remembered fondly in Wichita. His signature call was “put it in the ol’ deep freeze,” which is still referenced on current basketball broadcasts by Mike Kennedy.
“I have no idea how it came about,” Grebe said on The Drive. “I couldn’t anymore tell you about that than the man on the moon. But it certainly stuck. People that were listening in those days inevitably bring that term up, and it makes me feel pretty good, really.”
Grebe was one in a line of memorable WSU announcers, including his predecessor, Rick Weaver, Ken Softley and Kennedy, who has been calling Shocker games for more than 40 years and developed a friendship with Grebe.
“I know Mike well,” Grebe said in 2020. “On my 100th birthday, he and his wife called me, and I met with them the few times I’ve been in Wichita. I know the job he’s done, we’ve talked about it, and he has done things I wouldn’t dream of being a part of today. So I have great respect and admiration for the work that Mike does.”
Grebe was with WSU when a plane carrying members of the Shockers’ football team crashed in Colorado in October 1970. Grebe was aboard the other plane carrying WSU personnel. He regularly attended memorials commemorating the tragedy.
In 2020, Grebe said he was grateful to have carved a legacy in Wichita.
“To be remembered that long for doing a rather short term of broadcasting of Shocker games is a memorable thing as far as I’m concerned,” Grebe said. “It’s a big thing in my life.”
Funeral arrangements are pending. Grebe will be buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Covina Hills, Calif.
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