Gerry Vaillancourt, a renowned sports broadcaster who worked for more than a decade as the play-by-play announcer for Charlotte Hornets games, passed away on Sunday at the age of 72.
According to statements made by his daughter Kelly Vaillancourt to the Charlotte Observer newspaper, the condition that led to her father’s death was a cardiac problem.
Since the late 1980s, Vaillancourt was employed by multiple radio and television stations in the Charlotte area. However, he is best remembered for his work as the play-by-play announcer for Charlotte Hornets games on television and radio from 1990 until 2002. When the Hornets moved to New Orleans in the early 2000s, he followed the franchise there so that he could continue narrating games for the team.
In 2017, Vaillancourt made his comeback to the Charlotte radio market by hosting a program on WZGV (730 AM, The Game).
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“For listeners in Charlotte and beyond, he was an on-air talent who loved donuts, drank coffee, and had strong opinions; to us, he was all of those things and more,” a spokesperson for WZGV said in a post on social media on Sunday. “To us, he was all of those things and more,” the spokesperson added.
Those who worked with Vaillancourt fondly recalled him as a reliable broadcaster who generously shared his vast store of sporting knowledge with listeners at every opportunity.
“Gerry was one of the originals in the start of sports talk in Charlotte: funny, entertaining, and a basketball encyclopedia,” Jim Szoke, a colleague at radio station WBT (1110 AM, 99.3 FM), said in an interview. “Gerry was one of the originals in the start of sports talk in Charlotte,” Jim Szoke said.
The Hornets public relations department published a statement on Sunday to break the news of Vaillancourt’s passing, which was the first time the news was made public.
According to a statement released by the Hornets, “His insights and thoughts will be deeply missed, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.”
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