Clarence Wilson, the former radio commentator for Savannah State University football broadcasts, has died. He was 67.
Wilson died on January 25, under Hospice Care in Savannah.
“Clarence was an amazing man who would literally give someone the shirt off his back if they needed it,” said Savannah State athletics director Opio Mashariki. “I’ve known Clarence for over 14 years. He started as a colleague, but we became very good friends and he will be missed,” added Mashariki.
Although he was raised in Gary, Indiana, Wilson was born in Savannah. His mother died in a house fire when he was young. He and his sisters were taken in by his aunt and when she remarried she moved the family to Gary.
Wilson attended Horace Mann High School and was a member of the Horsemen basketball team.
Shortly after finishing high school in 1969, Wilson enlisted in the military where he served four years in the
United States Air Force.
The Vietnam veteran then attended Ball State University where he earned a degree in communications. While at Ball State he also became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
After college, Wilson moved to Los Angeles, California and worked for both NBC and ABC in their sports departments. While in Los Angeles, he got the chance to cover the 1984 Olympics.
A big fan of basketball, he would also be seen at Laker basketball games on press row.
Wilson would leave California and return to his native Savannah in the 1990’s and would work as the sports information director at The Savannah College of Art & Design. He later would write sports at The Georgia Guardian Newspaper.
It was at the Georgia Guardian where current SSU color analyst Curtis Foster met Wilson. “I met Clarence back in 1995 when he was working for the newspaper because he wrote an article on me and my brother. I have a brother that I take care of because he has Down’s Syndrome. The title of the story was “I Am My Brother’s Keeper.”
Foster, who has worked with Wilson since 2013, states that he will miss his friend whom he described as being warm with a genuine heart. “Clarence was an awesome guy who is a guy of great character. I will truly miss him being beside me on the broadcast telling his famous jokes. He is what you call a true friend.”
Wilson was hired at Savannah State by former sports information director Lee Pearson as a color analyst for the Tigers football radio broadcast to assist play-by-play man Don Wilson (no relation) 19 years ago.
Wilson would expand his roles within SSU’s sports communications department and served as the men’s and women’s basketball radio play-by-play announcer as well as public address announcer of Tiger volleyball, baseball and softball games. Even with his health failing, Wilson continued to do games.
In recent years, he wrote a high school sports column for The Spirit, a weekly newspaper based in Pooler and also served as a mentor to young students aspiring to get into the sports writing or sports broadcasting business. He also held jobs as boys basketball coach at St. Andrews, a journalist with the Savannah Morning News and as a educator in the Savannah-Chatham County public school system
A few years ago, Wilson rededicated his spiritual side and was studying to be a Jehovah’s Witness.
During his lifetime, he met many people from all walks of life. At his request, he did not want funeral and wanted to be cremated.
He leaves to morn his sister, Barbara Moore (Gaines), his aunt, Barbara Jean Johnson and a nephew, Anthony E. Moore all of Gary, Indiana and a host of cousins.