Michigan athletics has always held true to its fight song, striving to be the leaders and best every season. Over its 141-year history, the Michigan athletic program has amassed 51 national titles and 265 individual titles. But without its leaders – the coaches – the storied programs would be silent. Though there are many qualified coaches, here The Michigan Daily sports staff pays tribute to what we feel are 10 of the most influential Michigan coaches of all-time.

 

Fielding Yost

Years: 1901-1923, 1925-1926

Record: 165-29-10

Conference titles: 10

National titles: 6

The University of Michigan invokes one initial thought: football. The Wolverines have been a football powerhouse for as long as anybody can remember. With 11 national titles and 34 bowl appearances, the football program carries a formidable reputation. And it all started with one man A– Fielding Yost. Before Yost, Michigan had just one conference title to show for itself. After he took over in 1901, Michigan went undefeated in 56 straight games. His explosive offenses gave rise to the phrase “point-a-minute offense,” referring to the fact that Michigan outscored its opponents 2,821-42 between 1901 and 1905. As athletic director in 1924, it was Yost who proposed the building of the Big House – and it is much to his credit that Michigan Stadium is the icon that it is today.

 

Jon Urbanchek

Years: 1982-2004

Record: 163-34-0

Conference titles: 13

National titles: 1

In 22 years as men’s swimming and diving coach, Jon Urbanchek carried on a tradition of excellence that Matt Mann and Gus Stager established in the 1920s. From 1986-1995, Urbanchek’s Wolverines were almost unbeatable, winning 10-straight Big Ten titles and a national championship in 1995. Overall, Urbanchek’s tenure at Michigan included eight top-five national finishes and 16 top-10 performances. Urbanchek also led the team to complete dominance in the Big Ten: 13 conference titles, a 100-4 record in dual-meets and a .962 winning percentage. Urbanchek’s success doesn’t end at the Michigan pool deck – he has been an assistant coach for the United States at the past five Olympics.

 

Carol Hutchins

Years: 1985-present

Record: 917-345-4

Conference titles: 10

National titles: 1

Can you say National Championship? Carol Hutchins gave Michigan softball the first national title in its 28-year history. Hutchins has posted more wins than any coach in Michigan’s history, and her 940 career wins (including 23 in her first year of coaching prior to coming to Michigan) and .725 winning percentage place her among the top-10 active NCAA Division-I coaches in those two categories. After eight appearances in the Women’s College World Series, Hutchins finally led her team to victory. The eight-time Big Ten Coach of the Year guided the 2005 Wolverines to a school-record 32 straight wins en route to an impressive 65 total victories. She also earned the position of head coach for the 2005 U.S. softball elite team.

 

Red Berenson

Years: 1984-present

Record: 564-263-58

Conference titles: 9

National titles: 2

Now in his 23rd season as ice hockey coach, Red Berenson transformed a mediocre program in to one of Michigan’s winningest teams. Berenson led the Wolverines to two national titles (1996, 1998) and has reached the Frozen Four nine times in the last 14 years. From 1974-1983, Michigan earned just one NCAA tournament berth. Berenson changed all that when he took over in 1984, after leaving his mark as both a player and coach in the National Hockey League. Over the past 15 seasons, Berenson has kept Michigan at the top of college hockey, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament every year and amassing a 457-140-46 record, the highest winning percentage in NCAA Division-I ice hockey during that time.

 

Bo Schembechler

Years: 1969-89

Record: 194-48-5

Conference titles: 13

Bowl appearances: 17

Bo Schembechler is synonymous with Michigan football. Schembechler coached the Wolverines for 21 seasons, winning more games than any other football coach in the program’s history. Schembechler was hired to re-invent a football program that stumbled in the early 1960s, appearing in just one bowl game in 10 years. In his first year of coaching at Michigan, the team was 8-3 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. During the Schembechler years, Michigan dominated the Big Ten with an .850 winning percentage and traveled to bowl games in 17 of 21 seasons. The only blemish on Schembechler’s record? No national championship.

 

Ron Warhurst

Years: 1974-present

Conference titles: 7

NCAA top-10: 13

Ron Warhurst took a program with two all-time conference titles and no NCAA Top-10 appearances and turned it into a force to be reckoned with. In his 31 years with the Wolverines, the four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year has led the team to 23 top-three finishes in the Big Ten and has coached eight national champions. In 1997, he led his team to an NCAA regional title and was named NCAA regional coach of the year for that season. His runners have earned 39 All-America titles, and many have gone on to compete in the Olympics, including 1984 bronze-medalist Brian Diemer.

 

Vic Heyliger

Years: 1944-1957

Record: 228-61-13

Conference titles: 2

National titles: 6

Vic Heyliger led the Michigan hockey team to its first conference championship and its first national title. His six national championships are more than those collected by all other Michigan hockey coaches combined. He is the only coach in Michigan hockey history to have a winning percentage above .700. Before Heyliger took over in 1944, Michigan had not won a single conference title and had a record of 150-157-25. In his fourth season, Heyliger brought home Michigan hockey’s first national title.

 

Ray Fisher

Years: 1921-1958

Record: 636-295-8

Conference titles: 14

National titles: 1

Baseball fans flock to “The Fish” in the spring, but not many know the history behind the stadium’s namesake, Ray Fisher. After asking to leave the Cincinnati Reds to coach Michigan, he was blacklisted in Major League Baseball. But Fisher polished up his reputation at Michigan, garnering a 637-294-8 record, including 15 conference titles and a national championship in 1953. In 38 seasons, Fisher defined the program that still stands today.

 

Matt Mann

Years: 1925-1954

Record: 203-25-3

Conference titles: 16

National titles: 13

Just four years after the men’s swimming program’s inception, coach Matt Mann took over and led the Wolverines to their first national championship in 1927. Over 29 seasons, Mann’s teams won an impressive 13 national titles, 16 conference titles and totaled a record of 202-25-3. Mann also coached the United States Olympic team in 1952, which included two Wolverines.

 

Cliff Keen

Years: 1925-1942, 1945-1970

Record: 274-91-10

Conference titles: 9

NCAA top-five: 11

Cliff Keen led the Michigan wrestling team to nine of the program’s 11 conference titles. His 42-year coaching tenure covers over half of the program’s history at Michigan. He took 11 teams to the top-five of the NCAA and coached 11 national champion wrestlers.

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