On Monday, former Michigan football coach Gary Moeller passed away at the age of 81.
“Gary Moeller was a great family man, great friend, great coach and a man of integrity and high character,” retired Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr said in a statement. “I admired him, I respected him and I loved him.”
Moeller came to the Wolverines in 1969, taking on the role of defensive ends coach. He spent 23 years with Michigan, serving a variety of roles under Michigan coach Bo Schembechler as a defensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator before taking over as the head coach in 1990.
Moeller held the head coaching role for five seasons, during which Michigan went 44-13-3. Under Moeller, the Wolverines won three Big Ten titles in 1990, 1991 and 1992. In 1991 and 1992, Moeller received the Big Ten Coach of the Year award.
In his life, Moeller impacted Big Ten programs beyond Michigan. Prior to his coaching career, Moeller played football at Ohio State. He was a three-year letter-winning linebacker and a co-captain in his senior year. As a coach, he ledIllinois for three seasons in the late 1970s.
His coaching career started at the high school level after he graduated from Ohio State. He joined Schembechler — who was an assistant coach for the Buckeyes during Moeller’s playing career— at Miami University in 1967.
“Moeller was a coach that looked out for everyone that worked with him and for all of the players that played for him and represented our program,” retired Michigan football equipment manager Jon Falk said. “He was a good-hearted man who made decisions and sought input from his staff to make sure that the decisions were right for Michigan.”
After five years as head coach of the Wolverines, Moeller began coaching at the professional level. In 1995 he joined the Cincinnati Bengals where he served as the tight ends coach, and in 1997 he went to the Detroit Lions where he took over as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach.
In 2000, he took over as head coach of the Lions following Bobby Ross’s mid-season resignation, finishing with a 4-3 record. The following year, he took the defensive coordinator position for the Jacksonville Jaguars and then finished his career with the Chicago Bears as a linebackers coach from 2002 to 2003.
Moeller, who led the Wolverines to four bowl game victories, is the only coach to serve as both offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator for Michigan.
“Coach Moeller cared for his players and his teams and was devoted to the University of Michigan,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He gave a lot to the game of football, excelling as both an offensive and defensive coordinator and head coach in the college and NFL ranks.”
After his 23 year coaching career with the Wolverines, Moeller leaves a legacy as a key figure in the history of Michigan football.