HAMPTON ROADS (WAVY) — A local legend in sports broadcasting has died. And it may be due to coronavirus.
Robert Theron “Ron” Pinkney was a pioneer broadcaster who called the action for Hampton University and Norfolk State football and basketball games.
He is also believed to be the first African American play-by-play announcer on a major television network.
10 On Your Side’s Don Roberts took a look back at Pinkney’s life and legacy.
“I did not know that on ABC Television he was the first African American broadcaster to break the color barrier … and open up the doors for the James Browns … and every other African American that you see,” said Hampton radio personality and Author Jay Lang.
Jackie Bowe, the voice of Norfolk State University football and basketball and many other sports teams in the Hampton Roads area, describes Pinkney as one who “represented the excellence of many predominantly black colleges.”
Bowe says Ron Pinkney gave HBCU’s the recognition that they had never seen before, especially on a national level.
Ron worked in many places including the Mutual Black Network Sports, Grambling University when Eddie Robinson was head coach, and WTTG.
Bowe says Ron will be missed: “He’s been a very dear friend.”
“A true legend. He was the kindest man you could ever meet, ” said Lang.
Funeral arrangements are pending for Pinkney. He celebrated his 85th birthday last week.