IOWA CITY, Iowa — Bob Brooks, who broadcast University of Iowa athletic events for over 57 years, passed away Saturday. He was 89.
“Bob Brooks was passionate about his work and life in general. He was a true gentleman with a love for sport and the Iowa Hawkeyes,” said Gary Barta, UI’s director of athletics. “His vintage tape recorder and microphone captured historic moments for more than 60 years. We’re all going to miss this Hawkeye great – – and I’m saddened to lose him as a friend.”
He is a member of the Kinnick Stadium media “Wall of Fame” and was recognized by the UI as an honorary letterman. The press box at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids was named in his honor in 2011, and honored by the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Brooks was a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He earned his journalism degree from Iowa in 1948 and immediately began his broadcasting career in his hometown.
“Bob was a top notch professional,” said UI head football coach Kirk Ferentz. “He was a warm, genuine human being that truly loved his work and the people he worked with. He had an enthusiastic and optimistic approach to every day. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him closely. To have a friendship with him made the last 17 years of my life better. Bob carried a wealth of sports knowledge, particularly Iowa sports; his depth of history and his perception and understanding of the people involved was unlimited.”
“We join Hawkeye nation in mourning the passing of Bob Brooks,” said head basketball coach Fran McCaffery. “It was a pleasure to be able to work with Bob the six years I’ve been in Iowa City. He was a true professional and even better person who will be dearly missed. Bob leaves a legacy of integrity, respect, honor, and enthusiasm for not just Hawkeye athletics, but every event he covered in his distinguished career. His knowledge and first-hand experience of Iowa athletics was unmatched. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Brooks family.”
Brooks worked in the radio and television industry in Cedar Rapids throughout his career, working for KCRG radio and television (1949-76), and KHAK (1977-2000) and KMRY (2000-2016) radio stations. He later was part of the UI’s original broadcast team for Learfield Sports Properties. His broadcasting career began at WSUI (1943-48) campus radio station when he was a high school student. Brooks covered Iowa football for over 65 years, including covering all six of Iowa’s Rose Bowl appearances.
“Bob was a consummate professional in every way,” said current Iowa play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin. “From shirt and tie, to his famous hats. Bob was the most straight forward and fair play-by-play broadcaster I ever met. He always found a silver lining in Iowa’s performance and the opponents. Win or lose.”
Bob is survived by his wife, Susie, son Rob (Sue) and grandsons Peter and Blair. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Jane.
Details regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date.