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Wolverine football great Jim Mandich dies

Jim Mandich
(photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Athletics Dept)
Jim Mandich

Jim Mandich was the captain of Bo Schembechler's 1969 squad that shocked Ohio State.  He went on to star on the Miami Dolphins 1972 team that went undefeated.   Mandich died last night after a long battle with bile duct cancer.  He was 62.   

U of M Director of Athletics Dave Brandon says Mandich was a Michigan Man "in every way."  

"“Captain Jim Mandich led a team that changed Michigan football for decades to follow...He was a legendary player and an even better person. He will be missed."

The following is from U of M's press release announcing Mandich's death.

As a player at Michigan, Mandich was undersized to play the position of tight end. He caught 51 passes during the 1969 season, including 10 passes against Purdue. Mandich caught 14 passes (six against OSU and eight in the Rose Bowl against USC) during the final two games of his career.  

He was a second-round pick (29th pick overall) of the Dolphins in 1970 and played through the 1978 season, finishing his career with one year in Pittsburgh. Mandich played in four Super Bowls and won three world championships (Dolphins 1973, 1974; Steelers, 1979).   Because of his tenacity, charisma and his quick wit, Mandich eventually became known as ‘Mad Dog Mandich’ while playing with Dolphins. 

A  successful businessman as a contractor in the Miami area, Mandich also hosted sports radio shows and worked as the color analyst for the Dolphins where the moniker ‘Mad Dog Mandich’ really caught on. The soft-spoken leader in college developed a persona of a charismatic, humorous broadcaster with an edge.

Hall of Fame Head Coach Don Shula who coached Mandich from 1970-1977. 

"I was sad to hear about Jim’s passing....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."


Mandich is survived by his wife Bonnie and three sons Mike (U-M football 2001-04), Mark and Nick.




Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.