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Bill Mallory, Hoosiers' all-time leader in wins, dies at 83

Bill Mallory, Indiana's all-time coaching wins leader who upgraded teams at Colorado, Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio), died Friday in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana University confirmed Mallory's passing following a tweet by Mallory's son, Curt, the football coach at Indiana State.

Bill Mallory was 83. He underwent emergency brain surgery after falling on May 22. Curt Mallory tweeted Thursday that his father had been placed in hospice care.

Bill Mallory went 168-129-4 in 27 seasons as a college head coach, guiding 10 teams to bowl appearances with four AP top-20 finishes. He led Miami (Ohio), his alma mater, to an 11-0 record in 1973 and a No. 15 finish in the final poll. Mallory later coached Colorado to the 1977 Orange Bowl and Northern Illinois to its first-ever Mid-American Conference title in 1983. But he's best remembered for boosting Indiana's moribund program, which under his leadership reached six bowl games between 1986 and 1993 and tied for second in the Big Ten in 1987. The Hoosiers had made just one bowl game in the 16 seasons before Mallory arrived. After firing Mallory in 1996, Indiana wouldn't go back to the postseason for 11 more years.

On Friday afternoon, Indiana football's twitter account paid respect to Mallory.

After being named Big Ten coach of the year in 1986, Mallory became the first man to win the award in consecutive seasons. He twice won MAC coach of the year honors in 1973 and 1983.

"I believe in just kick-tail, lock-jaw hard work," he told The Washington Post in 1988. "And no excuses."

Born May 20, 1935, Mallory was raised in Sandusky, Ohio. He played two-way end at Miami (Ohio) for Ara Parseghian and John Pont, earning first-team All-MAC honors as a senior captain.

"John and Ara were great mentors for me," Mallory told the (Hamilton-Middletown) Journal-News in 2013. "They were excellent teachers and very caring people about their players. They had a lot of important traits that I tried to take with me when I had the opportunity to be a coach.

Mallory's father, Guy, coached basketball, and Bill followed him into coaching, first with Doyt Perry at Bowling Green and eventually as an assistant for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. He landed his first head-coaching job at his alma mater, succeeding Bo Schembechler, who had left for Michigan.

After coaching Miami (Ohio) to a perfect season capped by a win over Florida in the Tangerine Bowl, Mallory took over at Colorado, recording four winning records in five seasons and winning the Big 8 in 1976. He then returned to the MAC at Northern Illinois, which had not broken through in its new league. The team's breakthrough in 1983 drew the interest of Indiana.

"Bob Knight called me and asked if I was interested," Mallory told The (Champaign, Ill.) News-Gazette in 2008. "I asked him if there would be a commitment to football, and he said there would be. We made a commitment and things got much better."

They didn't right away, as Indiana went 0-11 in Mallory's first year. But the Hoosiers reached a bowl in 1986 and then recorded consecutive eight-win campaigns behind All-America running back Anthony Thompson, who would win the Maxwell Award in 1989. In 1987, Indiana ended a 31-game losing streak to Ohio State, leaving Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce to say, "This is the darkest day in Ohio State football since I have been associated with it."

"You tell Earle I've had a couple of dark days, too," Mallory countered, "and I don't want to hear that."

The 1987 Indiana team became the first in team history to beat both Ohio State and Michigan in the same season. To prepare the Hoosiers for the annual Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue, Mallory would wear a Boilermakers hat during practices that week.

"He could really work up a lather, foaming at the mouth," former Indiana running back Cal Miller told the (Fort Wayne) News-Sentinel in 1994. "He'd have real foam at the side of his mouth. We'd sit there in awe of him. I remember sitting in a meeting prior to any big game and watching [Mallory] orchestrate this talk, and I'm wondering how much I am seeing of what Woody Hayes or Ara Parseghian was like when he played or worked for them."

Mallory retired from coaching after the 1996 season but remained in Bloomington with his wife, Ellie, whom he married in 1958. Their three sons all became coaches: Mike Mallory, a former All-Big Ten linebacker at Michigan, is an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Doug Mallory, a former captain at Michigan, is an assistant with the Atlanta Falcons.

Bill Mallory was inducted into the athletic halls of fame at Indiana, Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio), as well as the MAC Hall of Fame in 2013.