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Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

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2018 Hall of Fame Inductee

Albert “Al” James Nagler (z”l)

Al grew up playing sports in Elmira, New York. In 1928 he enrolled at University of Detroit were he was student manager of the varsity football team and, as a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi, organized intramural sports competitions.

Al was also U of D’s Athletic Department publicity director. And that’s when he got his big break. In 1931, WJBK was in the market to hire a football announcer. Leading candidates auditioned by calling the play by play of a U of D scrimmage game. Al was not an applicant but had the keys to the stadium press box, so he was called to open it and decided to hang around while the six aspirants auditioned. Intrigued, he asked to try out. He ended up getting the job.

That chance encounter led to a 29-year sports media career as play-by-play broadcaster and sports director at WJBK and WXYZ.

Al was a member of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association and served as its president from 1951 – 1952. He was subsequently honored as a DSBA lifetime honorary member. Al finished his career as publicity director for the Windsor Raceway. He died in Windsor in May 1988. Inducted 2018

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