Big 10

Howard King, the voice of Michigan Stadium, dies at 83

May 4, 2016

ANN ARBOR — Howard King, 83, the former longtime voice of Michigan Stadium, died Wednesday.

Hired by former U-M athletic director Don Canham in 1972, King served as the public address announcer at Michigan Stadium from 1972 to 2005.

Michigan associate athletic director and football spokesman Dave Ablauf tweeted Wednesday afternoon: “Michigan lost a great ambassador and an iconic voice that reverberated throughout Ann Arbor on football Saturdays.”

John U. Bacon reported that King passed away in Traverse City, citing current Michigan public address announcer Carl Grapentine.

According to biographical information on mgoblue.com, King was a former U.S. Marine and a graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio. King earned a graduate degree from Ohio State and was ultimately ushered into an announcing career by former Michigan radio play-by-play man Bob Ufer.

“It was only the third day that I had been in Ann Arbor and I was working to get my insurance here and everyone told me about Bob Ufer,” King told Michigan’s official website in 2005 of his arrival in Ann Arbor in 1972. “I liked football, he loved football and I was going to ask him how I could help him out in the booth. He told me the PA position was open and I then asked him if he could help me get an audition. Next thing you know, I auditioned and Don Canham gave me the job.”

King called his final game at Michigan Stadium on Nov. 19, 2005. The Wolverines fell to Ohio State, 25-21, in front of 111,591 people.

That day ended a long career behind the microphone. In 1996, King told The Michigan Daily that he called his first game as a high school sophomore when his school’s normal PA man was out sick.

At the time his announcing career ended, King resided in Traverse City with his wife, Liz Sayre-King, the president and founder of Professional Solutions Plus.

King was ultimately followed by Grapentine, a close friend, in the announcing booth at Michigan Stadium.

“Howard was a groomsman at our wedding,” Grapentine said at the time, “and my wife and I met while we were in the Marching Band here at Michigan. Howard King always made Michigan Stadium a ‘class act’ on Saturday afternoon.

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