Chris Piper, a four-year letter-winner who played forward on Kansas University’s 1988 national-championship basketball team, will replace Max Falkenstien as analyst on Jayhawk radio broadcasts next season.
Piper, who also was a member of Lawrence High’s 1983 Class 6A state-championship team, has worked games on the Jayhawk Television Network the last 14 years. He also has been a studio analyst for Big 12 TV games the last six years. “I will miss working with our fantastic crew on the television games,” Piper said, “but I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Bob Davis and be with KU every step of the way. “Max Falkenstien has been a friend of mine since the day I stepped on campus for KU, and I am honored to follow in his footsteps,” Piper added of Falkenstien, who has retired after 60 years broadcasting KU sports.
Davis, who has been KU’s radio play-by-play voice in football and basketball the last 22 years, worked KU games during Piper’s Jayhawk career. “Chris brings terrific credibility and broadcast experience. He is very well established with all the television work he’s done. ‘Pipe’ will bring a lot of insight to the ballgame,” Davis said. “Max and I had a lot of fun. We still want the broadcast to be fun. We want to bring insight, but also make it fun, too. ‘Pipe’ has a great sense of humor. These are not wars, but ballgames. It’s serious, but it’s still a game.”
Piper, 41, is an owner of Grandstand Sportswear and Glassware, a Lawrence-based firm that produces licensed collegiate merchandise. “As I’ve said before, no one can ‘replace’ Max,” said KU athletic director Lew Perkins, “but Chris Piper is a broadcast professional who knows our program and who will contribute color and insight into our men’s basketball broadcasts.”
Earlier, it was announced former KU football lineman David Lawrence would replace Falkenstien as Davis’ partner in the football radio booth. “Things change. I’ve heard of a guy leaving KU broadcasts after 60 years. That’s a pretty big change,” Davis quipped. “I’ve been there 22 years. Chris and David have been involved with KU for many years, not only having great careers, but broadcasting games. It’s not like they are strangers to the fans. “David was team captain, all conference player. ‘Pipe’ played on a national championship team and is from Lawrence. I think that’s great.”
Piper started 69 of 129 career games played for KU from 1985 to 1988. He started all 36 contests his junior season (1987) and 33 of 34 his senior year — the 1988 NCAA title season. Piper averaged 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds his junior year and 5.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg as a senior.
“You bet,” Davis said, asked if he remembered Piper the player. “Coach (Dean) Smith in that Final Four said he’s one of the best as far as defensive principles of any post player in the country. Coach (Roy) Williams related that story to me. ‘Pipe’ was that good.”