On October 26th, 1981, Michigan lost its voice. That's the day Bob Ufer was taken from us.
Since then, there has been football. Good, even great moments & seasons, but it has never sounded quite the same nor been as exciting.
Ufer was much more than just a broadcaster. He was super fan with a silver tongue. A champion collegiate athlete in his own right with a deep understanding of the game and what it means to be a student athlete.
He bridged the gap between fan and coach. On occasion he would even participate in recruiting visits or serve as a mentor to players.
Most of all, he magnified the glory of Michigan Football and helped to make Bo a legend on the airwaves each and every football Saturday.
Since his passing Michigan football has been diminished and no one seemed to be able or willing to fill that void - until perhaps now.
Rick "The Peach" Leach, "The guts and glue of the Maize and Blue", Bo's most lauded QB appears to be emerging at the new "Voice".
Like Bob, Leach has the pedigree of a champion U of M athlete and while he is a bit raw, seems to be on a similar path.
The signs have been clear.
In December of 2008 he spoke spoke at Rich Rod's first Football Bust, a role Ufer often performed. No one had matched Ufer's passion at the podium until Leach took the stage.
In the past year, he has often called in or even shown up at the WTKA studios to talk about Michigan Football and function as an unofficial mouthpiece for the current regime saying things Rich Rod might like to say but just can't for political reasons.
Leach also had a very prominent role at the Spring Game and in interviews, mentioned his casual mentorship roll with expected true frosh starting QB Tate Forcier.
It is also worth noting, the station he appears on most often, WTKA, is the renamed WPAG, Ufer's old home.
Soon, with the expected rise of Michigan this autumn, Leach's role may naturally progress from program defender to promoter. What form that will take is still unknown but he does clearly posses a certain flair, albeit raw, which could let him take that next step. Whether that step includes the long silent George Patton Scoring Horn is a chapter yet to be written.
"I'll make you a promise before I go," he said. "My promise to you is, I know that day's coming. Maybe you had your fun and got your pound of flesh out of Michigan after 33 years. I don't care if it's Mark Dantonio, Charlie Weis or - you better believe it - Jim Tressel. Your freakin' day is coming."
-Leach at the above mentioned Football Bust
No wonder Dantonio won't shake his hand.
Image of Rick Leach and Bo courtesy Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.
Image # BL008275
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