Jeff Charles returns to broadcast duties
By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services
A good night for East Carolina University’s men’s basketball team was also a special night for longtime radio play-by-play announcer Jeff Charles.
Charles returned to the sideline for the first time Feb. 13 after undergoing surgery for colon cancer late last year. The “Voice of the Pirates” had been absent since Dec. 1.
(Photo by Jay Clark)
The basketball team welcomed Charles back with fist bumps before the game, followed by a 74-61 win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
He also received a standing ovation during the first media timeout.
“It felt really good to get back in the swing of things,” Charles said the next day. “It feels great to be back doing what I love to do.”
Charles said encouragement from ECU players, fans and alumni has been important.
“They’ve been just great, and all the support has been unbelievable,” Charles said.
He is undergoing chemotherapy treatment and will have follow-up surgery in August, but said he’s cancer-free and doing well. For now, he plans to continue announcing home basketball and baseball games.
“I’ve gotten great care here, and we’re fortunate to have such a great hospital here and such talented people,” he said.
He said he has empathy for others facing cancer.
“The only thing I can say is you just have to take it one day at a time and stay as mentally strong as you can,” he said.
Charles is in his 25th year as ECU’s play-by-play announcer.