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Purdue broadcaster working March Madness during cancer battle

HARTFORD, Conn. (WISH) – Larry Clisby made it.

Six months ago, the voice of Purdue men’s basketball for nearly four decades, declared himself a dead man walking. At the age of 71, two grim diagnoses arrived last spring. 

Clisby found out he had brain cancer and stage four lung cancer. 

“When my finance and I found out I had metastasized brain cancer, we cried a little bit at first,” Clisby said. “The first thing I said was, ‘We don’t have a lot of choices here.'”

Clisby channeled his old Army mindset.

When asked to describe that mindset, Clisby said: “There was Canada, jail or the Army back in the day. So, as you may expect, this broadcasting lifer showed up to the fight.”

Boilers Head Coach Matt Painter, the man Clisby sits next to on the team bus and refers to as the “gregarious young fella” showed up too. Painter put $10,000 toward medical costs. And Painter then helped deliver something priceless: Purdue basketball in March.

Well, I am glad to see it, Clisby said. When this all began in June, heck, I didn’t know if I was going to make it to September. But, I did. Just in the last month I started feeling that I am okay. I walk kind of slow and stuff, but even those are getting better.

Purdue. Painter. Carsen and Cliz. There is magic on that bus heading to Louisville for the Sweet 16.

It has been quite a journey for me, Clisby added. It has been difficult, but I have had a lot of help. The whole Purdue team, managers, coaches, and administrators have been incredibly helpful to me.

Purdue faces Tennessee Thursday night. Clisby will have the radio call across the Purdue Sports Network.