In this May 5, 2010, photo, Bob Barry Sr. stands...

In this May 5, 2010, photo, Bob Barry Sr. stands on the floor of the Oklahoma House in Oklahoma City, as the House adopted a resolution proclaiming "Bob Barry Sr. Day" in Oklahoma. Credit: AP

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Bob Barry Sr., the longtime play-by-play voice of Oklahoma football and men's basketball games who also was a local sports anchor, died Sunday. He was 80.

KFOR-TV news director Mary Ann Eckstein said Barry was found dead in his Norman home. "He didn't get his morning papers and his neighbors became concerned," Eckstein said. She had no other details and said a cause of death had not been determined.

Barry became the radio play-by-play voice of the University of Oklahoma in 1961, when he was chosen by football coach Bud Wilkinson. Barry held the job until the team's radio rights changed in 1972.

He returned as the voice of the Sooners in 1991 after providing basketball and football play-by-play for Oklahoma State University and basketball play-by-play for the University of Tulsa in between his OU stints.

Barry retired last spring at the end of the OU basketball season, having spent 50 years calling Division I college games in the state. He said he did so for health reasons.

"Something you love to do your entire life and you're able to do it and get paid for it, it's hard to let go. Really, part of me doesn't want to let go. But the other part of me says, 'It's time, Bubba,' " Barry said in August 2010, announcing his retirement.

Barry was sports director at Oklahoma City's KFOR until 1998, when he was succeeded by his son, Bob Barry Jr. Barry Sr. continued providing reports for the television station until retiring in 2008.

OU President David Boren said Barry was "loved by Oklahomans" across the state.

"Bob Barry represented the best of the Sooner spirit. With his contagious enthusiasm, he was one of the best sports broadcast journalists in the entire nation," Boren said in a statement.

Toby Rowland, the man who replaced Barry as the voice of the Sooners, said he never saw Barry have a bad day.

"Even after 50 years of broadcasting he would show up at the stadium like a kid in a candy store. His play-by-play style was unmistakable, but it is his gentle, kind and fun-loving spirit that I will always remember," Rowland said.

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