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Lee ‘The Cupper’ Grosscup passes away

The Cal legend spent the past 34 seasons on the Bears broadcast team

Utah Utes Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images

Lee ‘The Cupper’ Grosscup passed away at the age of 83 after having spent the past 34 seasons as a member of the California Golden Bears broadcast team. He joined Joe Starkey in 1986 and he, Starkey and the rest of the Bear family never looked back. Though he retired in 2018, he was a frequent contributor in 2019.

A fixture in the booth, Grosscup was present for almost too many amazing memories to count but the Cal Athletics website ran down some of the highlights for us.

Grosscup played witness to many memorable moments at Cal. He was there for Joe Kapp’s final season and Big Game victory over Stanford in his first season in 1986 followed by the Bears’ impressive five-year run under head coach Bruce Snyder, which included a No. 8 national ranking and a memorable rout of Clemson in the Citrus Bowl following the 1991 campaign. He saw Steve Mariucci and the Bears take down USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time in 26 years in 1996. He was on hand for Cal’s rout of Stanford in the 2002 Big Game during the first season under head coach Jeff Tedford and a win that snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Cardinal and the beginning of the program’s resurgence under Justin Wilcox that has seen Cal reach bowl games and post winning seasons in back-to-back campaigns over the last two years for the first time since 2008 and 2009.

Grosscup began his career in football broadcasting in 1966 after playing for Santa Monica and Utah in college. He also played professionally with the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, New York Titans and Oakland Raiders in the NFL, the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL and the Hartford Charter Oaks in the AFL.

His in-booth memories of games seen and called are almost as legendary as his partners along the way. He worked alongside broadcast greats such as Keith Jackson, Al Michaels and Cal’s very own Starkey, who actually spoke about the Cupper to Cal Sports Report:

“I hope I can get through this because I’m a wreck,” Starkey said. “We were really close. On Cal road trips, we would always go in a day early and play golf. We were close friends from the start to the finish.”

“He was always extremely well-prepared,” he added. “That’s really important for an analyst. Lee was always really detailed and had a great sense of humor. And his voice was great for broadcasting. It really jumped out at you.”

Our thoughts are with all of Grosscup’s family and friends through this time. Rest easy.