Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nantz grew up in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey and attended Marlboro High School. In high school, he was co-captain of the basketball team and co-captain and number one player on the golf team. He was a member of Bamm Hollow Country Club.
Nantz then went to the University of Houston in Texas, where he majored in broadcasting and played on the Houston Cougars men's golf team, rooming with future professional golfers Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister.
Before CBS Sports
Worked as an anchor and sportscaster for KSL TV in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Nantz joined CBS in 1985, initially working as a studio host for the network's college football and basketball coverage and as an on-course reporter for PGA Tour golf, as well as calling NFL games on CBS Radio. Nantz has anchored CBS' coverage of the Masters tournament since 1989. He has teamed with Billy Packer to call the NCAA Final Four men's basketball finals continuously since 1991. Since the 2008-09 season, Clark Kellogg has been his analyst.
The NFL on CBS
After hosting CBS's pre-game program The NFL Today from 1998-2003, he became The NFL on CBS's top play-by-play announcer in 2004. That move sent Greg Gumbel to the studio, and Nantz to the stadium booth with Phil Simms.
On February 4, 2007, Nantz called the play-by-play of Super Bowl XLI. He joins Curt Gowdy and Dick Enberg as the only play-by-play announcers to ever call both a Super Bowl and an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Game. (Greg Gumbel called CBS' previous Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXXVIII.)
Nantz is also one of two men to host a Super Bowl, announce an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game, and host coverage of the Masters from Butler Cabin with Brent Musburger being the other. Musburger also accomplished all three feats with CBS.
1985–1988; 1997–1998: NCAA Football on CBS - Studio host
1986–present: PGA Tour on CBS (since 1994 as host)
1986–1990: College Basketball on CBS - Studio host
1986–1989: NBA on CBS - Play-by-play
1987–1990: NFL on CBS Radio - Play by play
1987–1995: US Open - Play-by-play
1989–present: The Masters host
1989–1991; 1996–1997: NCAA Football on CBS - Lead play-by-play
1990–present: College Basketball on CBS - Lead play-by-play
1991–1993: NFL on CBS - Play-by-play (1993 as #2)
1992 and 1994: Winter Olympics - Weekend daytime co-host
1994–1995; 2000–2001: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
1998–2003: The NFL Today host
1998: Olympic Winter Games - Primetime host
2004–present: NFL on CBS - Lead play-by-play
Nantz's first book, Always By My Side — A Father’s Grace and a Sports Journey Unlike Any Other, was released in May 2008. Nantz tells personal stories from football, basketball and golf and how he has met people along the way who remind him of the virtues his father instilled in him. The foreword to the book was written by one of his father figures, friend and frequent golf partner, former President George H.W. Bush.
Nantz received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Houston in 2001. He also is one of the youngest recipients of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy award for broadcasting.
In a radio interview with KTCK in Dallas, Nantz said that he would like to announce 50 Masters before he retires.
Nantz teamed with Gary McCord to provide extensive commentary in the 1990s PC golf game Jack Nicklaus 6 - Golden Bear Challenge, and his commentary is featured in the Golden Tee golf arcade game series.
Nantz had been living in Westport, Connecticut with his wife, Lorrie, and daughter Caroline. The Nantzes are currently in divorce proceedings, the Connecticut Post reported on October. 18, 2009.
Near the end of a live radio interview on the syndicated Rush Limbaugh radio show on May 16, 2008, Nantz told the Republican talk host that he would like to talk about politics and his possible involvement in politics someday. The interview ended before the subject could be pursued.
Nantz has appeared on episodes of The Price Is Right to present a Showcase prize that involves CBS Sports properties, one to with the 2009 Final Four in Detroit and another in 2010 for Super Bowl XLIV (with Phil Simms), as part of changes to the long-time game show to use product placement models and CBS crossovers, including sports packages.
Nantz appeared as himself in the 1996 film Tin Cup, and has appeared in episodes of several television series including Arliss, Yes, Dear, Criminal Minds, and How I Met Your Mother. He portrayed the announcer for the fictional baseball team in the short-lived series Clubhouse, and his voice can be heard in the 1998 film Scrapple.
On April 27, 2009, Nantz was given the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play, for his work in the 2008 calendar year. Nantz is the first CBS Sports personality to win the award since its inception in 1993. Nantz won the award again on April 26, 2010.
Nantz has been honored with the NSSA’s National Sportscaster of the Year award five times (1998, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009).
In 2009, Nantz guest commentated on the final round of The Open Championship for the BBC.
In November 2009, Jim Nantz was ordered to pay his ex-wife $916,000 a year in child support and alimony. According to the Associated Press, "Nantz must pay $72,000 a month in alimony until either he dies or his ex-wife remarries, and another $1,000 week in child support for their 15-year-old daughter, Caroline, for the next two years...Nantz acknowledged that he began dating 29-year-old Courtney Richards an employee of IMG whom he met during his book tour before his divorce was final." Nantz does make $4 million a year from CBS and has another $3 million in "yearly assets."