Former Gophers football star Bob McNamara dies at 82

McNamara also played basketball, and he has influenced University of Minnesota athletics in many ways.

Betsy Helfand

Bob McNamara, an All-America football player and an influential Gophers fundraiser, died on Sunday night at age 82 after a battle with cancer.

McNamara played both football and basketball for the University of Minnesota in the 1950s, but his influence in the athletics department spanned long after that.

Athletics director Norwood Teague said in a statement that the University “had no greater advocate” than McNamara.

McNamara was an ardent supporter of Gophers athletics, taking up heavy involvement in fundraising for TCF Bank Stadium, the new Siebert Field and the Baseline Tennis Center.

“He did so much for our program throughout the years and never asked for anything in return,” head football coach Jerry Kill said in a statement. “The only thing he ever wanted to know was how he could help more.”

The McNamara Academic Center, which was built for the University’s student-athletes, is named after Bob and his brother, Richard “Pinky” McNamara, who also played football at Minnesota.

“He loved Minnesota and everything it stood for and was a tireless promoter and fundraiser for the university,” Teague said in the statement. “From athletics to academics, his fingerprints are all over this campus, as he literally had an impact in everything that we do.”