Sports figures and friends memorialize Timothy Pontzer, OU and Oakland Post alum


Photo courtesy of The Detroit News

Timothy Pontzer and his dog Churchill.

Jeff Thomas, Editor-in-Chief

Amid heavy rains Friday afternoon, Timothy Pontzer, of Auburn Hills, died in an auto accident while traveling southbound on Interstate-75 near Adams Road.

Pontzer is survived by his parents Jim and Susan, his younger brother Noah and his dog, Churchill. A celebration of life is scheduled for 1 p.m. July 10 at Calvary Chapel in Troy.

Graduating from Oakland University with a degree in journalism and double minors in public relations and English in 2015, Pontzer used his education to pursue his passion for sports journalism.

After making connections working for WXOU and as a reporter and editor for The Oakland Post, Pontzer focused his talents to make a splash in the broader Detroit sports community. Known for his upbeat attitude and dedicated work ethic, he contributed to several local publications, notably 97.1 The Ticket and C&G Newspapers.

In 2018 Pontzer began exploring career aspirations outside of the sports-news industry, going into financial planning and eventually starting to work for fellow 97.1 alums Kyle Bogenshutz and Mike Sullivan at their marketing firm Brand25 Media

An enthusiastic sports fan and avid golfer, Pontzer was known for his fandom of the OU Golden Grizzlies, Pittsburgh Steelers and local soccer teams like Oakland County FC, as well as his involvement with Metro Detroit Golfers.

The news of Pontzer’s death struck the OU and local sports community hard. Tributes and condolences were posted on social media and other platforms.

“Every once in a while something happens that stops you in your tracks, makes you sick to your stomach. When I heard the news about Tim Pontzer I wanted to vomit. Saw him and his brother Sunday and talked about a round of golf. I, like many others are heartbroken,” OU Men’s Head Basketball Coach Greg Kampe said.

“Tim was a talented writer and a genuinely nice guy who made people around him smile. I always enjoyed working with Tim in my classes,” OU’s Director of the Journalism Program Garry Gilbert said.

“Just beyond crushed to lose a great friend at age 27. Tim was also the Vice President of our company and the first full time employee we hired. He was truly a fantastic human being and someone I’ve known since college,” Sullivan said.

“Working with the staff of The Oakland Post was the best part of my college experience. Timothy Pontzer was a big part of that staff. I didn’t work directly with him much because I’m a better sports fan than I ever was a sports reporter. What I can say about Tim is that he always had a smile. He was always good-natured when I would give him a ribbing about being a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. When I heard him do a couple of shows on 97.1 The Ticket a few years back, I knew he was living his dream. He made a wonderful impression on so many and will be missed dearly.” Kevin Graham said.

In honor of Pontzer’s memory, OU alum and PGA tour golfer Brian Stuard has planned a tribute for him at this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. Oakland County FC also paid tribute by making him an honorary captain for last Saturday’s match.