The Wolverine

October 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 9 M ichigan fans whose emo- tions rose and fell for decades via Bob Ufer's uber- animated football broadcasts should circle Oct. 6, 2017 on their calendars. They'll already be on edge that weekend, with Michigan State rumbling into The Big House the following day. The Maize and Blue faithful can warm up through the first Ufer documentary, produced by Michigan grad Dan Chace. He's reserved the Michigan Theater for that date, rolling out a labor of love that fol- lows up his earlier homage to former U-M running back Billy Taylor. "Everybody from the state of Michigan will be in Ann Arbor that night, and a lot of State fans remember Bob Ufer, too," Chace observed. "We'll have a big party." Ufer 's voice has attended tailgate parties in the acreage around Michigan Stadium for the 35 years since he passed, on Oct. 26, 1981. His unbri- dled enthusiasm for the Wol- verines proved a hallmark of his broadcasts and influenced count- less Michigan fans. Chace numbers himself among them. He sat in the stands for the Oct. 17 game against Iowa that year, when the band spelled out "UFER" on the field and the play-by-play icon waved his final goodbye from the press box. "It was a very tragic, sad thing," Chace recalled. "People were really starting to realize, hey, this guy may not be with us much longer. There's a great photo of everybody turning and looking at the press box." Chace is collecting photos, news clippings, audio segments and more on Ufer. He's conducted interviews with Jim Harbaugh, Jack Harbaugh, Lloyd Carr, Dan Dierdorf, Rick Leach, John Wangler and a host of other University of Michigan football royalty. "Really, the Michigan family is turning out for this," Chace said. "I'm going to go and go and go until I run out of time and money, or both. At that point, I'll as- semble a film. Hopefully it will be meaningful for the Ufer family, first and fore- most, but also for Michigan fans — fans of a certain age who really loved and remem- ber Bob Ufer. "Jim Harbaugh carries the torch of enthusiasm, of origi- nal thinking, of a student- athlete that turns coach and program leader. He is carry- ing a torch that he learned, in part, from Bob Ufer and from his father." Tom Ufer, Bob's son, con- curred regarding the influ- ence on Michigan's current head football coach. "Jim drank the Ufer Kool- Aid in the '70s, and he's grown into what he's doing now," Ufer said. "He's going back to the energy, the pas- sion, putting Michigan on top." Chace, whose background is in acting, enjoyed his break- through in producing with the Taylor piece. It centered on the former U-M running back's overcoming of addictions, im- prisonment and homelessness on his way to success later in life. This one traces Ufer's history back to the U-M track stardom of his fa- ther, Clarence, circa 1915, to Bob Ufer's own track greatness, through his friendship with U-M director of athletics Don Canham and head coach Bo Schembechler, along with Ufer's 36 years of broadcasting Mich- igan football. The effort will not only tell the Ufer story, it will leave behind Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Bob Ufer Documentary To Capture Enthusiasm, Passion Of A Broadcast Icon A new documentary on Ufer, the legendary broadcaster and former U-M track star, will debut Oct. 6, 2017 at the Michigan Theatre. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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