Milwaukee Bucks: Eddie Doucette’s influence stands the test of time

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 08: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 08: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Eddie Doucette, the original voice of the Milwaukee Bucks, helped shape the foundation of the franchise to what we know it as today.

The early Milwaukee Bucks teams, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, spawned a generation of Bucks fans on the court. It was Eddie Doucette’ job to entertain a whole legion of Bucks fans off the court.

From the Bucks’ expansion season in 1968-69 to 1983-84, Doucette had a front row seat to the Bucks’ golden era and the most successful teams in franchise history as the team’s radio voice. But to classify Doucette as a mere radio announcer would be a disservice to the incredible legacy he built painting a picture for those Milwaukee teams either coached by Larry Costello or Don Nelson.

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Before the Bucks began play or even had a name, Doucette signed on as the team’s original PR director, doing everything from promoting the team, overseeing ticket sales and arranging public speaking engagements on behalf of the team.

Eventually, Doucette added the role of the team’s broadcaster to his long list of responsibilities as the Bucks readied for their expansion season.

That wasn’t without some pressure from the higher-ups as Doucette and the Bucks’ first year was essentially a trial run for the Massachusetts native as he discussed in a feature with Truman Reed back in May of 2011:

"“Back when it all began, we didn’t know what we were going to do,” he said. “But Ray Patterson, who was then the president of the team, told me, ‘Listen, I don’t know how you’re going to do this. We know high school and college basketball in this state, but we don’t know anything about the pros. I’m going to give you a year to figure out how to do it, and if you haven’t got it figured out in a year, you’re gone.’ So I figured I had nothing to lose, and I’d go out there and let it all hang out. That’s what we did, and fortunately it caught on.”"

It was during that year that Doucette laid down the colorful foundations that he used to call Bucks games.

With a near-endless supply of nicknames such as ‘The Greyhound’ (Bob Dandrige) or ‘The Cement Mixer’ (Dick Cunningham) and rich ways to describe and announce the game, Doucette developed a strong following throughout Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. So much so that the broadcaster compiled a ‘Doucette Dictionary‘ to make a record of all of his “Doucettisms.”

Current Bucks Executive Vice President of operations John Steinmiller once said this of Docuette and how integral he was to the formation and growth of the Bucks’ franchise:

"“There’s no question that Eddie was instrumental in building our audience throughout Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin, especially in the early years,” said Bucks vice President John Steinmiller. “In fact, he and Kareem were probably the two individuals most responsible for the following we developed.”"

Of course, Doucette’s reach and bond with Bucks fans was only strengthened from the many Bucks teams he had the pleasure of calling, whether it was the 1970-71 squad that won it all, the team that came within a game of winning a second ring in 1974 or the rise of the Nelson-led era in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Even after leaving his post as the Bucks’ play-by-play voice more than 36 years ago, Doucette’s imprint on the franchise is still very strong today. The Bucks’ mascot, Bango, wouldn’t have existed without Doucette coining the phrase to describe long range jumpers.

But certainly the biggest decision Doucette made in his life was founding a charity donated to fight childhood cancer after his then-2-year-old son, Brett, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1976 and subsequently overcame the diagnosis.

Co-creating the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) along with “Mr. Buck” himself, Jon McGlocklin, which officially launched on the night of McGlocklin’s retirement from the NBA on December 10, 1976, the MACC Fund has raised over $65 million since its inception, per their website.

In speaking to Reed for a feature in February 2013, Doucette knows he and McGlocklin’s platforms were incredibly helpful to raising awareness and making it the institution it stands today within the region:

"“The most important thing I’ve done in my life was co-found the MACC Fund,” Doucette said. “I believe that God has a plan for everybody, and I believe his plan for me and all the steps I had to take in my career were to motivate Jon and I to start a charity for people in the community who had cancer.“My platform as Bucks announcer and Jon’s as a player enabled us to co-found the MACC Fund. I think of all the lives that have been saved since then, and how the cure rate for cancer has gone from 20 percent to 80 percent. No man could have a greater legacy than that, and all of that was God’s plan.”"

Doucette was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame back in September of 2013 when he received the Curt Gowdy Media Award, who so happened to be an idol of Doucette’s when growing up in Masschusetts. In getting the call to the Hall, Doucette never thought such a thing would have been achievable for him as he explained to Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in February 2013:

"“I absolutely have been thrilled about this,” Doucette said. “When you get in this business you never think about an opportunity to end up in the media section of the basketball Hall of Fame. I am absolutely thrilled beyond words to think that this is something that is being presented to me. I have worked hard, and the road has been a long and winding and sometimes bumpy one as it always is for people in my business. But to think this is the way it ends, that this is kind of like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, is pretty darn cool.”"

Bucks fans have been incredibly fortunate with the amount of rich voices and figures that have called the highs and lows of Bucks basketball throughout the years, whether it’s been Doucette, McGlocklin or current Bucks announcers such as Ted Davis, Jim Paschke or Marques Johnson.

Next. Mike Budenholzer’s winning pace in league history. dark

But without Doucette’s effervescent and pioneering ways, the Bucks as an organization wouldn’t be where it is today without his dulcet tones cultivating a loyal following even before the team first took the floor back in the MECCA.