Golden Voice

Bob Dyer

Ortmayer Stadium’s broadcast booth is an intimate space. It’s not uncommon for a half-dozen people to crowd inside when covering a game, and September 17 was no different. Balmy weather, clear skies, a vibrant sunset— all the makings of a quintessential football experience.

Calling the action on the field was University of La Verne’s announcer. “I’m on the end,” he said. “I can’t see the north end of the field without stepping back and looking out the door, leaning way forward to see it.” (Not that there was much to see; the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes shut out the Leopards that night.) But as the game ended and he stepped out to go home, a proud parent asked the announcer if he’d like to meet their son, a member of the football team. “I reached down and said, ‘Hi, I’m Bob Dyer.’ And he pauses, shakes my hand, and says back, ‘You’re Bob Dyer?’”

“That was kind of cool.”

Make no mistake—Bob Dyer ’63 is a legend. While he’ll be the first to admit he’s no Vin Scully or Howard Cosell, Dyer forged his athletics legacy at the university by serving as the primary sports announcer for both football and men’s basketball since 1987. He is a two-time inductee into La Verne Athletics’ Hall of Fame. And, even after announcing his retirement from broadcasting earlier this year, Dyer continues to involve himself with the university as a trustee.

La Verne Athletics tapped Dyer for the announcer role when Peter Baum, his predecessor, retired after 35 years of service. “Without a booth, he would announce most of the time walking among the players on the sidelines or climbing the light posts,” he said. “Then [Baum] moved to Utah, so Roland Ortmayer called me to help.”

His volunteer spirit continued for 35 years. In that time, Dyer established an impartial voice during games, ensuring both sides got unbiased coverage despite his affinity with La Verne. “I want to win,” he said. “I want to be neutral. But my voice goes up a little bit when La Verne scores.”

Dyer’s love for the university is well-established. A basketball fanatic, he scouted nearby universities for player eligibility while in high school. “I just happened to see a little poster that said ‘La Verne College’,” he recalled. “We came here first, and I knew right away it was where I wanted to attend. And I’ve never been sorry.”

Dyer achieved his goal of playing varsity basketball all four years at University of La Verne. He also met his wife Susan while earning his bachelor’s in business administration. The two have been married for 60 years and are active members of the Church of the Brethren. After graduation, he embraced lifelong learning by teaching and coaching in the Chino Valley Unified School District for 37 years. Through it all, the family maintained deep roots with the university and the town that bears its name.

“I don’t think everybody gets that feeling, but I definitely did,” he said. “I had found a place I felt at home.”Dyer still feels the same connection he felt nearly 65 years ago, and the school still exudes the same charm that drew him here despite the campus’ transformation over the decades. “When I’m on campus, without a doubt, memories come back,” he said. “Wilson Library was a supermarket. When we were first married, we’d buy our groceries there.” His dorm room, in what was then Brandt Hall, is now a part of the Ludwick Center for Spirituality, Cultural Understanding, and Community Engagement; the meditation space outside is due in part to his classmate Bruce Warner ’62.

Today, the Dyers still live a short walk from campus, and Bob still volunteers in the local community. There’s also talk of him continuing his association with Leopard Athletics as a fan ambassador. For now, however, he focuses on serving the university’s Board of Trustees, which he joined in 2014.

“I was honored when I was asked to serve,” he said. He is excited to help search for the university’s next president, which he admits is a tall order.

There’s a twinkle in Dyer’s eye when he talks about the hundreds of games he’s announced over the past 35 years. He almost doesn’t want to stop. But he knows it’s time to pass the torch—and the soft-spoken way he admits it is a perfect complement to the bombast that carries through a typical Leopard sports event.

And if today’s gridiron gladiators still pause to shake his hand when they hear his name? Bob Dyer is fine with that, too.