ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The voice of the Buffalo Bills from the team’s earliest days in the AFL has died at age 87.
Bills President Russ Brandon announced Saturday that retired broadcaster Van Miller died on Friday.
Miller began his broadcasting career in 1955 calling high school sports for WBEN radio and television. He became the Bills’ play-by-play man during the team’s first season with the AFL in 1960.
Miller served in that role from 1960 to 1970 and again from 1978 until his retirement in 2003. He called a total of 605 Bills games during his career.
“As the ‘Voice of the Bills,’ Van’s historic radio calls of Bills games over the years will forever resonate with our fans,” Brandon said in a statement. “His Hall of Fame and Wall of Fame talent was overshadowed only by his engaging personality, his witty sense of humor and his love for the Bills. We will all dearly miss ‘Uncle Van,’ but his legacy will remain deeply embedded in our franchise’s history and in the hearts of his countless fans in Western New York and throughout the NFL community.”
Miller was remembered by friends and colleagues as a funny guy and an expert at his craft.
“He was hilarious,” Bills broadcaster John Murphy told reporters Saturday. “He’s probably the funniest person I ever met.”
Murphy worked with Miller professionally for 16 years, but the two were friends for more than three decades.
“It is a difficult day,” he said. “My two sons think of him as Uncle Van. Our whole family is close to him.”
In addition to his job as a Bills broadcaster, Miller also called games for the Buffalo Braves from 1971 to 1977 and worked as a weather reporter, game show host and television sports director.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Gloria; a daughter, Cathy; a son, Van; and three grandchildren.
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