Gary Moeller, the longtime assistant and head coach for the University of Michigan football program passed away Monday morning, July 11th. Moeller, 81, spent 23 years associated with the Michigan football program. He was one of 11 coaches in school history to work with the program for more than 20 years, and one of five among those 11 individuals that served as head coach of the Wolverines (1990-94).
Moeller guided the Wolverines to four bowl game victories and a 44-13-3 overall record in his five years as head coach, including a win over Washington in the 1993 Rose Bowl. Moeller directed teams to three Big Ten Championships, five bowl appearances (1991 Gator, 1992 and 1993 Rose, 1994 Hall of Fame, and 1994 Holiday), and five straight finishes in the top 20 of the final national polls.
Moeller’s Wolverines set a Big Ten record by winning 19 consecutive conference games from 1990 through 1992. By winning the Big Ten title in his first season as head coach, he joined Fielding Yost, Bennie Oosterbaan and Bo Schembechler as the only coaches in school history to accomplish the feat.
After graduating from Ohio State in 1963, Moeller began his coaching career at Bellefontaine High School in Ohio. He joined Schembechler’s staff at Miami (Ohio) for the 1967 and 1968 seasons and made the move to Michigan with Bo in 1969. Moeller served as the defensive ends coach until being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1973. His defensive units led the nation in scoring defense in 1974 and 1976.
In 1977, Moeller took over as head coach at the University of Illinois, a position he would hold for three years before returning to Ann Arbor in 1980 as the Wolverines’ quarterback coach. Moeller resumed duties as defensive coordinator from 1982-87. As his units did twice in the mid-1970s, the 1985 squad led the nation in scoring defense. Before being named Michigan’s head coach in 1990, Moeller served as the team’s offensive coordinator for three seasons (1987-89).
Moeller is survived by his wife, Ann, three daughters, Susan, Amy and Molly, and son, Andy, a former linebacker and captain for the Wolverines.
The family will hold a visitation on Friday, July 15, from 2-8 p.m. at Chiles-Laman Funeral Home in Lima, Ohio (1170 Shawnee Road). A private family funeral will be held on Saturday, July 16.