- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Doug Layton, a familiar voice to Birmingham radio listeners for more than a half-century, died Wednesday night in his Vestavia Hills home following a long battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.

As big as he was on Birmingham radio, though, Mr. Layton was probably better known around the state for being part of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s radio broadcast team for 32 years — first as a football color analyst and later as a pre-game host. He also was a play-by-play announcer for Alabama basketball games.

In celebration of his long and colorful life, we asked a few people who worked with him and knew him best to share some of their favorite memories of Mr. Layton.

Eli Gold, University of Alabama football play-by-play announcer:

“He was one of those guys who was very instrumental in me being accepted. Obviously, coming in as a New York guy with pro sports experience and no connection to the university, it took Doug and (sideline reporter) Jerry Duncan and (producer) Bert Bank to make sure I wasn’t going to be run off. So I always owed that to Doug — his being outspoken in letting folks know, hey, accept the kid; he’s a nice boy. So I owed that to him from the get-go. And of course, traveling with Doug and being with Doug was a morning show come-to life. It was always jokes: ‘Did you hear this one? Did you hear that one?’ And he knew football, too. He knew the players, and of course, everybody knew Doug.”

Jerry Duncan, former sideline reporter on the Crimson Tide football broadcasts:

“I guess the most fun I’ve ever had in my life was traveling with Doug and John (Forney) all those years. And, of course, Alabama had that great run in the ‘70s where they won all those games. We traveled to every game together, either flew or drove together. I never will forget all the trips we made to Knoxville on the Third Saturday in October. We would leave and go drive up through the mountains and see the leaves turning. Just listening to John and Doug tell stories was fascinating to me because they were a little bit older than I was. It was a great experience for me. And Doug and I ended up going to the same church together, at Vestavia Hills (United Methodist Church). Just a great guy. I’ve had so much fun with him. We got into a lot of trouble, too, but not anything bad.”

Tom Roberts, former member of the Alabama broadcast team:

“He always had a great story to tell — just loaded with stories from every place we played in the SEC. And he made those stories funny. The other things is, on the broadcasts, Doug tried to be as positive as he could. I don’t ever recall him being negative, especially about a player. He kind of was of the same philosophy that I am — that the players are there to be players. They’re not children anymore, but they’re certainly not adults. So you be as positive as you can about them. If you want to give somebody some criticism, you criticize the coach. But he very seldom criticized anybody, and I don’t think I ever heard him criticize a player.”

Wimp Sanderson, former University of Alabama basketball coach:

“I’ve been around him a lot at various functions, and he always had something funny to say. I think the amazing thing about him is, he never had any notes. Whatever he said came of the top off his head. I thought that was interesting. He and John Ed (Willoughby) were funny together, but Doug was also funny by himself.”

J. Willoughby, the son of Layton’s longtime radio partner John Ed Willoughby:

“Doug and Dad were really close friends from as far as I can remember… . Dad really loved Doug a lot and really had a lot of respect for him. I think they both would agree that they probably didn’t have the chemistry that Dad had with Tommy (Charles), but they just had a real friendship. They were very much alike, liked hanging out, liked playing golf, going to get a drink. They were buddies.”

___

Information from Al.com, https://www.al.com

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