ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jim Mandich passes away at 62

There was sad news Tuesday as Jim Mandich, a former All-American tight end at Michigan, died after a fight with bile-duct cancer. Mandich was 62.

Mandich served as a captain for Michigan in 1969, as the Wolverines upset Ohio State and advanced to their first Rose Bowl in five seasons. He went on to play nine seasons in the NFL, winning two Super Bowl championships with the Miami Dolphins and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mandich, inducted into Michigan’s Hall of Honor in 1994 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, played for the Dolphins’ undefeated 1972 championship squad.

Mandich is the father of current Southern Connecticut State tight end Nick Mandich.

“Jim was a Michigan Man in every way,” Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a prepared statement. “He did so much for our football program and our University as a student-athlete, supporter, donor and ambassador of positive energy. ... He was a legendary player and an even better person. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family as they grieve the loss of a great husband and father.”

Mandich was part of the Dolphins’ broadcast crew for 17 years after his playing career ended.

“I was sad to hear about Jim’s passing,” former Dolphins coach Don Shula said in a statement. “I know he fought a courageous battle, but that was typical of his fighting spirit. When I think about Jim, I always looked at him as a guy who was bright, well prepared, and competitive. He was someone who I could count on as a player and was instrumental in the success we had during his time with the Dolphins. Mary Anne and I want to pass along our condolences to his wife, Bonnie, and the rest of his family.”

Mandich was diagnosed with cancer in early 2010. Asked by The Detroit News last November if he still had time to follow Michigan during his cancer fight, Mandich replied, “Are you kidding me? Of course I care about that stuff. To the point of irrationality. It will always be Michigan first, cancer second.”

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