Banned Iowa announcer to return after season

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin, who was suspended last week for likening Maryland's Bruno Fernando to "King Kong" during a game, will be reinstated after the end of the season.

Hawkeye Sports Properties, the multimedia rights manager for the program, said Dolphin will return to cover Iowa's spring football practice. Dolphin, who has been with Iowa since 1996, will be the Hawkeyes' football and men's basketball announcer again next season.

Late in a 66-65 home loss to Maryland last week, Dolphin said that Fernando, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound African-American who was born in Angola, "was King Kong at the end of the game."

Dolphin said Wednesday that he had hoped to return for the postseason in part so he could clear the air, but understands why he was suspended.

Dolphin also said that he will try to reach out to Fernando after the season.

"It was unintentional. But it was wrong," Dolphin said. "Obviously I stepped over the line. I'll own it. ... I don't plan to change my style. But I will tweak it. There's no question about that."

It was the second suspension for Dolphin this season. He sat out two games after being caught on an open microphone criticizing Iowa guard Maishe Dailey in a win over Pittsburgh in late November. Athletic director Gary Barta said that that incident factored into the decision to make Dolphin's suspension run through the season.

"His comment, even though regardless of intent, was inappropriate and insensitive," Barta said. "Moving forward, we can use this as an educational opportunity."

The Iowa men's basketball program will almost certainly return to the NCAA tournament after a two-year absence, and the women's program is expected to host the first two rounds as one of the top 16 teams in the field.