Bob McNamara, who helped lead to charge to save men's gymnastics and golf at the University of Minnesota died Sunday at the age of 82.
Bob McNamara was a football All-American and played basketball at the U of M in the 1950s. The Hastings native went on to have a professional football career, with the Canadian Football League and the American Football League. Later, he owned a sports bar in Minneapolis.
But it was McNamara's work in retirement that might have had the biggest impact on the University. McNamara helped raise funds for major athletic buildings like TCF Bank Stadium and supported the University's academics.
Lou Nanne, who currently heads a $190 million athletic facilities fundraising campaign, said McNamara felt indebted to the U and "was always at the forefront of getting something done when it came to the University of Minnesota.
"And [he was] completely focused and dedicated to succeeding in the endeavors he thought were important for the U," Nanne said.
McNamara also was instrumental in the building of the Baseline Tennis Center. Geoff Young, the Minnesota Men's Tennis head coach, met McNamara on his first day on the job in 2006.
"When you meet Bob and you get to know him, he kind of rubs off on you the love for the university. You really sensed how much this place really meant to him and what an impact it had on his life. Helping the University was a labor of love for him."
In a statement, Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said, "From athletics to academics, his finger prints are all over this campus."
The University named The McNamara Academic Center in honor of Bob and his brother Richard "Pinky" McNamara who passed away in 2011.