Chris Roberts, the former voice of UCLA football and men’s basketball for 23 seasons, died Friday morning from complications of Parkinson’s disease at his home in Glendora. He was 74.
Roberts was the play-by-play voice for 10 years at Long Beach State before making the move to UCLA. From 1992 to 2015, Roberts was the Bruins’ play-by-play broadcaster for both sports. He called 16 bowl games for the UCLA football team, including the 1994 and 1999 Rose Bowl games, and 19 trips to the NCAA tournament for the the men’s basketball team.
The highlight of his career was arguably the Bruins’ 1995 NCAA tournament championship run, capped by their title-game victory over Arkansas at the Kingdome in Seattle.
The decorated broadcaster, who was a four-time Golden Mike Award winner and a Hall of Fame member in the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association, also co-authored two books with Bill Bennett – “Stadium Stories: UCLA Bruins” and “UCLA Football Vault” – and worked in real estate. He also spent time coaching the Glendora High junior varsity baseball team.
Born as Bob LaPeer in Alhambra, Roberts grew up in Baldwin Park and played football, basketball and baseball at Baldwin Park High before continuing to play baseball at Cal Poly Pomona. He began his broadcasting career at KCIN in Victorville, then at KREO in Indio and KWOW in Pomona, where he announced high school and junior college sports. Other stops included KFXM in San Bernardino – where a program director asked him to change his name because someone else named Bob also worked there – as well as KUTE-FM, KFI-AM, KOST-FM and KMPC-AM.
Roberts is survived by his wife Ann LaPeer, son David LaPeer and daughter-in-law Yvette LaPeer, daughter Nichole Hijon-LaPeer, son-in-law Octavio Hijon and grandchildren Andrés, Santiago and Carmen.
According to a release from UCLA, Roberts’ family “requests that in lieu of flowers, in Chris’ memory, to please remember to provide love, guidance, and mentorship to those around you and in need. He was always proud and fond of the young broadcasters that he had the privilege to coach and mentor.”
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