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Former U of M football coach Gary Moeller dies

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University of Michigan Athletic Department
Gary Moeller

Former University of Michigan football coach Gary Moeller has died.

The university said he died Monday at the age of 81. No cause was provided.

Moeller was from Lima, Ohio. He played linebacker and was a captain for Woody Hayes at Ohio State.

Moeller coached the Wolverines from 1990-95, succeeding legendary head football coach Bo Schembechler. Gary Moeller went 44-13-3 with three Big Ten titles and four bowl victories.

Sports commentator John U. Bacon said Moeller was a protégé of Schembechler. But his approach was different from his mentor.

“What Bo generated with the players was respect. What Gary generated was affection,” said Bacon, “Those are not quite the same things of course. But man when I talk to Gary’s players they truly loved that guy. And they played like it.”

Moeller’s tenure as head coach ended abruptly. He resigned in 1995, after a drunken incident at a Southfield restaurant.

Bacon said the incident was “uncharacteristic.”

“(Moeller) had too much to drink. Got belligerent. Ended up in a local jail,” Bacon described the incident. “And the catch was it was all recorded and played every half an hour on the hour on ESPN. At that point, you were in big trouble.”

After he resigned, he moved to the NFL and was an assistant for four teams. He was the interim coach of the Detroit Lions in 2000, going 4-3.

Moeller is survived by his wife, Ann, three daughters, Susan, Amy, and Molly, and son, Andy, a former linebacker and captain for the Wolverines.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.