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Robert Pormann Ufer (April 1, 1920 – October 26, 1981) was an American track and field athlete and radio broadcaster. As an athlete, he set the world indoor record of 48.1 seconds in the indoor 440-yard (quarter mile) run and was selected as an All-American in 1943. As a broadcaster, he served as the lead broadcaster for the Michigan Wolverines football team for 36 years, starting in 1945. He was in the first group inducted in 1978 into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor along with Gerald Ford, Bill Freehan, Tom Harmon, Ron Kramer, Bennie Oosterbaan, and Cazzie Russell.[1][2][3][4]

Bob Ufer
Born(1920-04-01)April 1, 1920
DiedOctober 26, 1981(1981-10-26) (aged 61)
Years active1945–1981


Early yearsEdit

Ufer was born Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.[5] His father was a lumber broker.[6] He was an outstanding track and field athlete. At Mercersburg Academy, whilst serving under Coach Jimmy Curran, he was part of the 440 yards relay team that broke the world scholastic record with a time of 42.2 seconds. This feat earned Ufer and his relay team-mates - Jack Watt, Austin Kellam and Paxson 'Pax' Gifford - a place on the Penn Relays Wall of Fame.[7] At the University of Michigan,[8][9] Ufer set eight freshman records. At the Big Ten Conference track meet in 1942, he set a new world indoor record of 48.1 seconds in the 440-yard dash, breaking the old record of 48.2.[10] He was a three-time Big Ten Conference champion in the indoor 440-yard dash.[11]

Broadcast careerEdit

Ufer called Wolverines football on WPAG from 1945 to 1976 and on Detroit's WJR from 1977 to 1981. He is remembered for his exuberant, partisan broadcasting style, openly rooting for Michigan.[12][13]

Personal lifeEdit

Ufer grave
Ufer Building

Ufer was also a life insurance salesman who founded his own company, Ufer & Co. Insurance, in 1947.

Ufer lost a long battle with cancer October 26, 1981,[14] nine days after his last broadcast; at Ufer's funeral, former Michigan defensive coordinator, Jim Herrmann, said, "Bob Ufer was Michigan football. That's what he lived and died for. I think he would have liked being described that way." Ufer is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Ann Arbor.

In 1983, the parents of Ann Arbor-raised musician Andrew W.K. purchased the Ufer home. He grew up there until moving to New York City 14 years later.

Ufer's son, also named Bob Ufer, was the commissioner of the International Hockey League.

In July 2011, the offices of Ufer & Co. Insurance, which had been sold by Ufer's sons in 2009 to Kapnick Insurance Group, were moved to a location adjacent to Briarwood Mall to a building renamed "The Ufer Building" in his honor.[15][16]


  1. ^ Luke Pasch (September 13, 2012). "The Voice of Michigan Football: Remembering Old Man Ufer". The Michigan Daily.
  2. ^ "Bob Ufer - The Voice of Michigan Football". Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Gene Wojciechowski (November 14, 2006). "From the sound of it, Ufer remains a Wolverine legend".
  4. ^ "Bob Ufer Dead". The Argus Press (AP story). October 27, 1981.
  5. ^ AP (October 26, 1981). "Bob Ufer". Toledo Blade. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Fannie Weinstein (1996-01-18). "U-M grads rush toward their goal to bring life and career of Bob Ufer to Hollywood". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  7. ^ Curran's Biography More Exciting Than Fiction, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1939-04-29
  8. ^ "Ufer Favorite in Big Ten Meet: Bids for Third Triumph Tomorrow at Chicago". Chicago Tribune. March 10, 1944.
  9. ^ "Bob Ufer, Michigan, Bids in Hollis '600'". Boston Globe. February 2, 1944. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Bob Ufer obituary". The Sporting News. November 14, 1981. p. 59.(Ufer "held the world indoor mark for the quarter-mile in 1942")
  11. ^ Hergott, Jeremiah, ed. (2008). Two Thousand Eight Michigan Men's Track & Field. Frye Printing Company.
  12. ^ "Ufer's maize-and-blue boosterism to go nationwide". Chicago Tribune. January 1, 1977. p. S A3.
  13. ^ Rosenberg, Michael (October 17, 2001). "Michigan's Epic Poet a Homeric Homer, Ufer Chronicled a Football Odyssey". Detroit Free Press. p. E.1.
  14. ^ "Bob Ufer dies; Michigan announcer for 36 years". Chicago Tribune. October 27, 1981.
  15. ^ staff (2011-07-21). "People & achievements in the greater Ann Arbor area, including McMullen Properties and Interim HealthCare". Retrieved 2011-10-221. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^

External linksEdit