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I never got to meet Grizzlies announcer Don Poier, at least not in person. Like the rest of Memphis, I “met” Poier through my radio upon the Grizzlies’ arrival in 2001. And what I’ll attach to my memories of Poier for the rest of my life is the recollection that his voice -- much more than the Grizzlies’ play that first season in Memphis -- meant the big leagues had arrived. Whether it was Poier’s inflection, his knowledge of the pro game, or his sense of humor amid such regular defeat . . . I don’t know. But in a city that had been minor league in terms of sports for far too long, Poier was a strong, clear voice at the very top of the game. Big league. My heartfelt sympathy to the Poier family. -- Frank Murtaugh

"Only in the movies and in Memphis!" -- That was the excited finis spoken by broadcaster Don Poier to one of the transplanted Grizzlies' first game-saving moments in Memphis back in 2001, and it became a signature line for the whole fairy-tale saga of the Griz.

This year TV fans had the oportunity to put a face on that robust mellow voice as Poier became the Grizzlies' television broadcaster as well. Though he preferred to focus on radio, Poier was a team player and agreed to the new duties after Randy Stephens, vice-president of broadcast operations, arranged for Poier to switch back to the radio broadcast on games that would not be televised by the team.

"They asked would I be interested in doing television," Poier said when the change was announced by the Grizzlies' front office last year. "I said, 'Not really. I don't want to give up doing every game.' I have been since the team started. I wanted to continue."

Though he's gone -- dead of an apparent heart attack in Denver last week during the Grizzlies' most recent road trip -- the veteran broadcaster, one of several team figures who came with the team from Vancouver in 2001, leaves behind a legacy -- not only of professionalism but of good will and bountiful inspiration. And there's no doubt: that legacy will continue, just as Don Poier wanted.

He is our loss, but, for time to cme, also our gain. -- Staff

Memphis Grizzlies Statement on the Passing of Don Poier

Memphis, Tennessee, January 21, 2005 -- The Memphis Grizzlies are deeply saddened to report the death of Don Poier, the voice of the Grizzlies on radio and on TV, a treasured member of the Grizzlies family who passed away suddenly in Denver on January 21, 2005.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Don’s wife, Barbara, and their entire family. “Don thanked God every day that he got to do this job. He loved the Grizzlies, the city of Memphis and the fans more than anything.”

Information regarding funeral arrangements are not yet available.

In lieu of flowers, donations in the name of Don Poier can be made to the Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, 191 Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

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