Bob Socci is the choice as the new play-by-play voice for Patriots broadcasts on 98.5 The Sports Hub, the team’s CBS Radio-owned flagship station.
Socci, a Milton resident, has called Navy football games on the radio for the past 16 years, commuting from this area for the past five.
He also is the lead voice for Patriot League college basketball broadcasts on the CBS Sports Network and is in his first season as one of the two radio voices of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Socci will be paired with analyst Scott Zolak, who will be entering his third season as part of the Patriots broadcast team.
Socci replaces Gil Santos, who retired following the 2012 season after 36 years as the radio voice of the Patriots.
“It’s a dream come true. It really is, on every level,’’ said Socci, 45. “I’ve been dreaming about something like this for a long time. Now that it’s come to fruition, it’s remarkable. It’s humbling above all things because I have such tremendous admiration and respect for Gil.’’
Socci, who moved to Milton from Maryland in 2008 when his wife landed a job as a primary care physician as Massachusetts General Hospital, solicited guidance from Santos upon arriving in the area.
“In October 2008, I wrote Gil an email and asked him to listen to my [play-by-play] CD,’’ Socci said. “He did and gave me his critique.”
Santos provided contact information to Socci when The Sports Hub launched in August 2009.
”I’ve been up for major league jobs in the past, and any time I’ve been considered seriously, in my opinion, somebody knew about me before,’’ he said.
“When we moved to Boston, I knocked on some doors. Thankfully, Mike Thomas [CBS Radio Boston’s vice president of programming] listened, and they let me come in and we sat down and talked in the fall of 2009.”
He was on their radar. And when it was announced that the 2012 season would be Santos’s last, Howie Sylvester, producer of Patriots game broadcasts, reached out to Socci to apply.
He interviewed at the station Feb. 15 but did not have a formal audition with Zolak.
“I had a great feeling that day,” said Socci. “I had gone through the interview process before and never come out of it as confident as I did that day. For lack of a better description, it had a good vibe.’’
He learned he had won the job in the past week or two, he said. He will leave the PawSox job July 1.
Replacing Santos, the voice of fall for generations of Patriots fans, may seem a daunting task. But Socci is looking forward to the opportunity he’s longed for.
“It can be daunting, you can’t ignore that,’’ Socci said. “But at the same time, it’s a tremendous honor.
“It’s funny, one of the things that makes me believe strongly that I’m the right choice for this comes from Gil, five years ago when he listened to my work. Maybe he was saying it completely in jest, but he was complimentary in critiquing it.
“And then his last line was something to the effect of, ‘I don’t plan to retire for the next few years — by then you’ll be ready for it.’ I believed that then, and I know it my heart now.
“I hope that doesn’t sound conceited in any way, but it’s how I feel.”Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globechadfinn.