Bruce Glasier understood his audience, and they knew him. He was the sportscaster who came into Maine homes to talk about the success or failure of Boston teams and the stories of the sons and daughters who played for their local high schools.

For 35 years he spoke to you as if he were sitting in the recliner in your living room. He was the storyteller who always put the story first. Glasier saw himself as the messenger even when he allowed his droll or deadpan humor to escape.

Glasier died late Wednesday night at age 69, two years after he retired from WCSH-TV. He started there in 1977 as its sports director.

Glasier was a fixture on the sports scene in southern Maine. His last public appearance was in early August when he attended the Shrine Lobster Bowl, climbing slowly to the press box at Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field with the assistance of his son, Paul. Sitting with Lee Goldberg, his younger friend and WCSH sidekick, Glasier was part of the broadcast.

“For 15 minutes, it was Dad of 20 years ago,” said Paul Glasier. His father had worked the very first Lobster Bowl, an exhibition football game featuring the best of Maine’s most recent high school graduates.

“It was one more chance to put on the headphones,” said Paul. “He immediately went to work checking off the starting lineups. The original plan was for him to stay until halftime.”


During the extended halftime, Glasier’s induction to the Maine Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame was to be announced to the big crowd of high school football fans. Exhausted from the lung cancer he had been fighting for months, Glasier had to leave after the first quarter.

“He spent the day before as the grand marshal of the Yarmouth Clam Festival,” said Paul. “Those two days back-to-back took a lot out of him.”

The two days also gave back. Glasier loved being around people, but not necessarily the center of attention. He was asked frequently to serve as master of ceremonies at sports banquets and did so, but with a light touch and self-effacing humor. He wasn’t the entertainer at such functions. He was the guide that got everyone from one point to another.

“He didn’t believe sports should be serious,” said Minka, his wife. “They’re games, just games. He loved the kids who played.”

Which is why Glasier began his weekly Varsity Club segment on WCSH. He took viewers behind the on-field performances of high school stars to explain who they were away from their sports.

“He was most proud of that,” said Paul. He laughed. “He’d come home and ask me why I couldn’t be like this kid or that kid.”


Paul, 46, and his sister, Leslie Buteau, 43, share their father’s quick wit and wry humor. The Bruce Glasier everyone saw on television was the father who came home to them. He had the same personality under his own roof as he had in the studio.

“I’d just sit back and listen to the three of them,” said Minka. “I was their straight man.”

Much like a coach warming to the notes of appreciation from players years later, Glasier heard back from the many interns who passed through WCSH. The sportscaster who knew he didn’t have the outsized personality, the handsome face, or the mellifluous voice that would move him to a much bigger market and payday was a role model.

Travis Lee was a sophomore basketball player at Yarmouth High in 1989 when he saw Glasier for the first time on television at someone’s house. “My family watched Channel 13 (WGME) but I really didn’t,” Lee said. “Bruce showed the video of a couple of basketball games, went through all the scores and it blew my mind. I knew then I wanted to be a sportscaster.”

Lee is now the sports director on WMTW. Goldberg can tell the same story. Both understood that Glasier preferred pure reporting, even if it was homespun. The new technology wasn’t of much use to him.

“Bruce knew how to use everything else on his tool belt,” said Lee. “He could carry a show with irony and hyperbole.” With a slight bit of sarcasm.


Glasier watched the late Frank Fixaris on WGME, who was polished and urbane. Glasier replaced the patrician Don MacWilliams in 1977, and in appearance and voice, the two were very different. Fixaris, a friendly rival, gave Glasier the advice that worked: Be yourself.

“Look at me,” said Glasier in 2012. He was poker-faced except for the laughter in his eyes. “I’m not the big, handsome stud from ESPN. A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Clint Eastwood, as Harry Callahan, said that memorable line in the movie “Magnum Force.” Glasier used that as his career guide, too.

After Glasier retired in 2012, he kept his hand in the business. He was the voice on the computer, streaming University of Southern Maine baseball and basketball games.

“He absolutely loved being around kids who didn’t have egos,” Paul Glasier said. “He couldn’t wait to work their games.”

Bruce Glasier, a 1963 graduate of Portland High School, wasn’t always a sportscaster. He earned his degree in journalism from the University of Maine in 1967, and became a sportswriter with the Portland Press Herald and the former Evening Express. He also worked on the radio.


During the early 1970s, he was hired by the manager of the now-gone Riverside Ice Arena in Portland. Lee Roy wanted Glasier to promote the new Maine Yankees, a junior A hockey team. This was several years before the Maine Mariners of the AHL arrived in Portland to play at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

It was rough and tumble hockey. During one game, the Plexiglas partition between a penalty box and the announcer’s booth collapsed. Ron Palmquist, a former WGME newsman, shares the memory of Glasier holding up the glass with one hand while manning the microphone for the public address system in the other. Another time, a coach wanting to join a fight on the ice removed his dentures and handed them to Glasier. Hold them for me, please.

“We were both young and didn’t know what we were doing,” said Roy. “But we had a lot of fun trying to figure things out.”

Their friendship endured, and in 1995, Roy made a call that still brings tears to his eyes. His son, Travis, was injured in his first hockey game for Boston University and was paralyzed. Roy called Glasier first with the terrible news.

Glasier was devastated. He knew he had to report such news, but his heart wondered how he possibly could.

He always did see the person before the personality.


Services for Bruce Glasier:

Visiting hours: Monday, Oct. 6, noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland; memorial service: Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 11 a.m. at St. Maximilian Kolbe, 150 Black Point Road, Scarborough.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.