Jack Eaton receives Hall of Fame honor

Jack Eaton receives Hall of Fame honor

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A local sports broadcasting legend, and WMC-TV 5 alum, spoke Thursday about being inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

>>Click here to watch Ben Watson's complete interview with Jack Eaton<<

For Jack Eaton, the honor is a fitting tribute to a broadcasting career that began in 1956 with a small salary and a big challenge from Channel 5's general manager.

"He said, 'Jack, I'll tell you this...we'll give you a hundred dollars a week, and if you're still here in 90 days, we'll give you $120,'" Eaton said.

Eaton rose to the challenge, and it wasn't too long before he was a dynamic part of the Action News 5 team.

"I was on Channel 5 for, gosh, 35 years, and you know for a while we had ratings that were out of sight," he said. "We had the top ratings in the country for a while."

Not bad for the rookie who became a husband, father and one of the biggest sports announcers in Tennessee.

"What I had to do was think of as many different ways to say the same thing as possible," Eaton said.

Along the way, Eaton turned TV sportscasting into an art form.  He worked on the radio, too, doing play-by-play Ole Miss football.  But Eaton will always be best-known as the voice of the Memphis Tigers, and the number one hater of Louisville basketball.

"Because I always thought we got cheated," he said. "I hated Louisville like the devil."

By his side throughout this exciting journey has been his wife, Erma.  For the Eatons, it's been a wonderful ride, and the Hall of Fame honor is the icing on the cake.

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