Mick Mixon talks retirement, memories after 17 years as voice of Carolina Panthers
The long-time radio voice of the Carolina Panthers is retiring
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mick Mixon is making his last call.
For the better part of the last 20 years, if you were driving down a Carolina roadway on a fall Sunday afternoon, your companion was Mick Mixon.
And you were better for it. Folksy and funny, he was a friend worthy of your time.
The long-time radio voice of the Carolina Panthers is retiring.
Sunday’s game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be Mick’s last game wearing a headset.
On Friday, we met him in his office -- for the past 17 years -- at the broadcast booth at Bank of America Stadium.
One of Mick’s favorite moments was when he called the 2015 NFC Championship when the Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals to advance to Super Bowl 50.
“The city was off the chain,” Mick recalls. “I got chills right now.”
“I mean, the bigness of an NFL game is well known when your city hosts a playoff game. Multiply times 10 when it’s the NFC Championship Game, and up next is the Super Bowl.” “And I’ll still, long as I live, I’ll be able to just close my eyes and hear that the roar of that crowd.”
And for 17 seasons, Mick Mixon was the voice between the roars, weaving a tale told in four parts every Sunday.
“I would have paid, written personal checks to sit in this booth,” Mick said. “We’re in now and calling these games, it has just been a joy in this world.”
It’s a joy Mick says he’s giving up for the right reasons.
“I always wanted to try to retire, hopefully with enough good health to enjoy grandkids and sitting on the seat of my tractor and hanging out with my beautiful wife,” Mick said.
OYST’s Jamie Boll: You still got your fastball. I mean, you can still do this, you know what I mean.
Mick Mixon: “I thought about retiring last year, selfishly, with the COVID and broadcasting away games from here. No fans in the stands, I kind of had that little selfish moment that I’ll confess to you. I trust you that it’ll go no further than here that I thought, ‘Let me just try to do one more with hopeful fans in the stand.”
Boll: Do you pinch yourself once in a while, this kid who grew up in Chapel Hill, went on to you know, be part of the broadcast team to win UNC-Chapel Hill basketball national championships with Woody Durham? And then you get to broadcast to all the Carolinas doing the NFL franchise.
Mixon: “I won’t do it now, but I could show you bruise marks and contusions from pinching myself. Jamie, it doesn’t matter on Sundays here. Whether you’re Black, white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, young, old, ECU, UNC, State, Duke, Clemson, South Carolina, everybody comes together and goes, ‘C’mon Panthers Keep Pounding. Can this be our day?’ I love that I’m addicted to it. It’s like a drug.”
Boll: There’s something different about listening to a game on the radio. Tell me about your process of painting that picture for the listener.
Mixon: “On radio, everyone is sight challenged. And so you not only need me and my colleagues to tell you the bones of what’s happening, but you need flesh, you need texture, you need color.”
“If I tell you that Cam Newton doesn’t just come up to the line of scrimmage, but when he heads up to the line, he swaggers up to the line like a wild west gunfighter coming into saloon doors.”
Boll: Give me a player or two not necessary because they’re great to watch on the field, but they were just cool people off the field. Who’s gonna stick with you?
Mixon: “I used to love talking to Steve Smith, about his life, about where he got these tattoos and what was it like growing up in South Central Los Angeles and how was he parented and who brought him up and what makes him so combative on the field.”
“How does he reconcile that violent streak with his religious faith? One time, Luke Kuechley, at training camp, sat down at a table with all of us, hot day at Wofford. And then he got up to get some ketchup or whatever, and he looked at all of us at the table, six other people and said, ‘Can I get anybody anything while I’m up? That made an impression on me. It is small, but that’s the servant leader’s heart of Luke Kuechley. That’s why his legacy here is secure.”
Boll: I’m sure you’ve thought about how you’re going to sign off on Sunday. I’m not going to ask you to obviously do that here. But if you just want to take a second or two, talk to the fans at home, what would you say?
Mixon: “Oh, God, I can’t. I’ve not thought of how I’m going to sign off. Because nobody in my judgment. And nobody really cares. It’s been an honor to sit in the chair. I guess what I would say is that I hope you enjoyed the way my colleagues and I tried to present the games. I hope you felt like you were listening to friends, and if you need me, I’ll be at the farm.”
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