MORE ON CHARLEY 'THE COACH' ECKMAN:
Priscilla Eckman Thomas, remembers her granddad:
His career was as colorful as his sweaters he wore but almost every one loved
"Choley", "The Coach"! I should know, I'm his only granddaughter. Unfortunately,
for Baltimore, his fans, friends and family, Charley "called a cab to heaven"
on July 3, 1995, after a hard fought match with cancer. I can still smell his
As Hal Burdett of the Baltimore News American put it... "As Baltimore as
beer and crab cakes, feisty Charley with the tonsils that won't quit is
the oratorical equivalent of a bull in a china shop. You've GOT to listen.
Maybe it's because he's always belting out a barrage of words that could
have been lifted straight from the dialogue of Damon Runyon. "WHAT YOU
HEAR- IS WHAT HE IS - energetic, enthusiastic and always a showman."
"Charlie was the biggest personality in Baltimore" said Harry Shriver,
general manager of WFBR radio, who hired Eckman in 1970. 'Everybody knew
Charlie Eckman...." "He was a free spirit,' says Harry Shriver. "There
have been moments when I wanted to strangle him. He's in a business
that's heavily regulated and very controllable. Even if Eckman sounded
like a loose cannon on the air, he was in command of himself and his,
ahem, colorful language."
"Charley told WCBM management to "Call a Cab". At WFBR, Eckman along with
the infamous Johnny Walker has as Eckman puts it, "Told it like it is."
Eckman berates the cry-babies, exalts the greats of sports and delivers a
plug for a team that's five games in the lead. You either "love me or
hate me". Howard Cosell, no favorite of Baltimore sports fans, is the
constant target of Eckman barbs. Maryland Gazette, Annapolis, MD
August 8, 1971 - News American Magazine, "What advice would you give to
young people living in Baltimore? The advice I would give to any young
person is that you should get an education, a college degree, if possible.
And, secondly, if you can't afford to get it, or if you have conditions
similar to mine, where there wasn't any money, I think you should get the
most out of your ability, whatever ability you have."
June 11, 1972 - Baltimore Sun Magazine. Story by Frederic Kelly ... "Loud,
Brash and Somebody" ... "Charlie announcing on WFBR and WJZ-TV Orioles pre-game
show ... Charlie Eckman, the hottest sports broadcasting property in town.
He can - and does - talk about anything anyone wants to talk about. More to
the point, he talks about anything HE wants to talk about. Not long after he
broke into broadcasting with WCBM in 1965 a friend invited him to a Jewish
circumcision. That evening he mentioned it on the air noting that it was "the
first time I ever saw a clippin' without a 15 yard penalty."
"Loud, brash and flamboyant - he has taken to showing up at WFBR's studios
in various colored lounge suits and stunning Italian knit body shirts -
Eckman excites the extremes. He amuses some and annoys others. But,
then, it has never been his intention to blend in with his environment.
"I'm the kinda guy who says what he thinks." "Eckman is one of the few
sportscasters in town who does not rely heavily on scripts. He depends
instead on his quick wit and knowledge of sports to pull him through."
"The phone began ringing almost as soon as Eckman was off the air. So far
on this particular day he had a guy talking about the Colts' quarterback
problems, another wishing Earl Monroe was back with the Bullets and now
this lady from Roland Park who wanted to know about the third race at
Pimlico. "What about it darling?" rasps Eckman. "Did King Flame win?" the
lady asks. Ain't no way, sweetheart!" booms Eckman, Then turning
solicitous: "Whatzamatter, honey, your old man have a fin on King Flame?"
Raucous laughter. Listening. Grinning. "Sure, darlin', you're welcome."
Hanging up only to pick up the phone again and again ... Charley goes on
the air giving the race results, breaking for a commercial all the way.
"How about it, coach? You thirsty: Well, you sure know what to do about
that, don't cha? Get on over there to your favorite waterin' hole for a
nice, big frosty glass of everyone's favorite beer. National Bo ... Mmmmmm ...
mmmmm! Yes-sir! That's living'.
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