May 23, 2014
DALLAS, Texas -- Recently retired University of Michigan football play-by-play announcer Frank Beckmann has been named the 2014 Chris Schenkel Award recipient, announced today (Friday, May 23) by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. The Schenkel Award goes to the sports broadcaster who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football with direct ties to a specific university.
Beckmann is the first recipient of the award from a school in the state of Michigan and is just the third recipient with ties to the Big Ten Conference, joining Minnesota's Ray Christensen (2000) and Iowa's Bob Brooks (2002).
Beckmann completed 33 years as the play-by-play voice of Michigan football last fall (1981-2013) and is only the second individual -- joining Bob Ufer -- to handle the duties for the flagship broadcast of Michigan football in the previous 65 years. Beckmann began calling play-by-play for the Wolverines in 1981. He has hosted a daily weekday talk show on WJR-AM in Detroit since 2004.
A Michigan native, Beckmann took his first radio job in 1969 at an AM station in Alpena, working as a one-man news staff. Six months later he landed at WPON-AM in Pontiac, where he did play-by-play for the Midwest Football League's Pontiac Arrows.
After stints at WKNR-AM in Dearborn, WDRQ-FM and Channel 2, Beckmann joined the WJR news staff in 1972. As news reporter he specialized in hard-hitting reporting that won him numerous awards, including the National Headliner. He also received a citation for "Best Coverage of a Single News Event" -- the Hoffa Disappearance.
Three years after joining the news team, Beckmann switched to the WJR sports staff. He became sports director, lead announcer for the Detroit Lions and, in 1981, he succeeded Ufer as the play-by-play announcer for Michigan football. The Associated Press and United Press International have named Beckmann "Top Michigan Sportscaster," and the National Association of Sportscasters voted him "Michigan's Sportscaster of the Year."
Beckmann is a member of the state of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and was honored in 2003 as an "Honorary 'M' Man" by the Letterwinners M Club.
Media Contact: David Ablauf