MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Bob McNamara, an All-American football player for Minnesota in the 1950s and later a major fundraiser for the university, has died. He was 82.
McNamara died after a long illness on Sunday night, the school announced on Monday.
"Anyone who knew Bob knew that there was no greater supporter of the university," former athletic director Joel Maturi said. "He took great pride coming from Hastings, Minnesota, and playing for the Gophers and then took even greater pride in following and supporting the Gophers. Nobody was better at fundraising or cared more about Minnesota than Bob. He will be deeply missed."
McNamara played for the Gophers from 1951-54. He was an All-American running back and the team MVP in 1954, going on to play professionally for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Canada and the Denver Broncos in the AFL.
After his playing career was over, McNamara was one of the school's leading fundraisers. He played a big role in raising money for the new outdoor football stadium, which opened in 2009. He also helped spearhead efforts to get a new outdoor baseball stadium and a new tennis center built, and along with brother Pinky, was the namesake for the school's McNamara Alumni Center.
"From the first day I met Bob, it was easy to tell that he was a special Gopher," athletic director Norwood Teague said. "He loved Minnesota and everything it stood for and was a tireless promoter and fundraiser for the university.
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