(Born August 21, 1926) -- Mention Dick Rifenburg’s name around Western New York, and he’ll be immediately associated with broadcasting. In fact, some people might not even remember his work on the playing field.
Rifenburg grew up in Michigan, and he was a top player upon arriving at the University of Michigan in 1944. World War II got in the way of his career, but he came back to lead some great Michigan teams. “Rife” was an All-American in 1948.
He was drafted by the Eagles, but a serious knee injury essentially ruined his pro career. Rifenburg headed to Buffalo, where he started doing radio work at WBEN. Responsibilities multiplied when the station went into the television business.
Rifenburg worked on the radio broadcasts of the Buffalo Bills at times. He did play-by-play of the UB football team, and even hosted an all-night show at times.
Rifenburg left WBEN after 30 years, and did some teaching and broadcasting. He died in 1994, and was named to the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007.
--- Budd Bailey