BELDING — Charles “Bub” Mahar loved sports. More specifically, he loved Belding Redskins football.
On Saturday, the Belding Redskins family lost a longtime supporter and friend in Mahar. He was 86.
Mahar — a 1944 graduate of Belding — was the longtime radio announcer of Redskins football along with Will Youngs. The best friends broadcasted Belding football from 1991 through the early 2000s.
“Bub and I went way back,” Youngs said.
The broadcast duo watched Redskins football together for many years before heading into the radio booth. But it was behind the microphones where they witnessed some of the best football in Belding history.
The Redskins won Class B state championships in 1994 and 1997. They were runners-up in 1998.
Wes Cummings was athletic director for Belding High School from 1990 to 2002 and again from 2006 to 2007. Cummings said the duo meant a lot to Belding football.
“You can’t say anything about Bub without saying something about Will (Youngs). They are definitely a pair,” he said. “Bub and Will were to Redskins football, kind of like, what Ernie Harwell was to the (Detroit) Tigers.
“Bub loved Belding athletics and Belding kids. He used to go watch practices, he was a true fan and a great guy that would do anything for anybody,” he added.
As Cummings said, Mahar and Youngs were a “pair.” They did just about everything together.
“We played softball together after World War II. We refereed together, myself for 19 years and Bub for 15 years,” Youngs said. “We lived next door to each and played Wiffle ball games all the time.”
That friendship came through the airwaves as they called football games over the years. Chemistry was the easiest part of the broadcast.
“We just about knew what the other guy was going to say every time,” Youngs said. “Our families took vacations together. We were just like one of the family.”
Mahar’s best moment in the broadcast booth came when the Redskins won their first state championship. His feelings were captured in an article in The Daily News in Dec. 1994.
“I had tears in my eyes and I wouldn’t have wanted to be any other place in the world except in that room,” Mahar said. “These are our kids. I’ve lived in Belding for a long time and don’t know them by face. But if I hear their number, I know them. They’re just our kids. It’s like being in a big extended family.”
Belding was clearly dear to the heart of Mahar. That was obvious, even to his grandchildren growing up in Greenville (Belding’s biggest rival).
“My grandpa loved Belding. He loved the school, he loved the people and he loved their athletic teams,” grandson Charlie Mahar said. “He had five grandsons that played sports at Greenville and he would always tell us, ‘I hope you play well, but I hope Belding wins.’”
The Redskins’ football team is currently in the midst of an outstanding season. They will travel to Comstock Park to take on the Panthers in the Division 4 district final on Friday night.
You can bet, Mahar will be on the minds of many fans in the stands as they hope for another Redskins victory.