Ex-Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Lions coach Gary Moeller dies at 81

Gary Moeller, who succeeded Bo Schembechler as Michigan's football coach in 1990 and led the Wolverines to three Big Ten titles in five seasons, died Monday at the age of 81, the university announced.

The cause of Moeller's death was not specified by the school.

"Gary Moeller was a great family man, great friend, great coach, and a man of integrity and high character," former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr, who succeeded Moeller as Michigan's head coach in 1995, said in a statement. "I admired him, I respected him and I loved him."

Moeller had a record of 44-13-3 in five seasons (1990 to 1994) as the Wolverines' head coach and led his teams to a 4-1 record in bowl game appearances. In addition, his teams set a Big Ten record with 19 straight conference wins from 1990 through 1992 and he was a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year.

"The football world lost a great man in Gary Moeller," current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh -- who was teammates and a captain with Moeller's son, Andy -- said in a statement. "Coach Moeller cared for his players and his teams and was devoted to the University of Michigan. He gave a lot to the game of football, excelling as both an offensive and defensive coordinator and head coach in the college and NFL ranks."

Moeller, who was from Lima, Ohio, played linebacker and was a captain for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. He worked for Schembechler at Miami (Ohio) in 1967 and 1968 before following him to Michigan in 1969. He was at Michigan until 1977, when he took over as head coach at Illinois and went 6-24-3 in three seasons. He returned to coach for the Wolverines as an assistant from 1980 until 1989 when he served as a quarterbacks coach for two seasons, defensive coordinator for five seasons and offensive coordinator for three seasons before taking over as the head coach in 1990 when he succeeded Schembechler after he retired.

He was associated with the University of Michigan for 23 years and was one of 11 coaches in school history to work with the program for more than 20 years.

Moeller resigned as Michigan's head coach in May 1995, less than a week after he was arrested on charges stemming from a drunken outburst at a restaurant in suburban Detroit.

After resigning, Moeller jumped to the NFL and served in various assistant coach roles for the Cincinnati Bengals (tight ends), Detroit Lions (linebackers), Jacksonville Jaguars (defensive coordinator) and Chicago Bears (linebacker) from 1995 through 2003. He served as the head coach for the Lions in 2000 after Bobby Ross resigned and led the team to a 4-3 record.

"I was fortunate enough to work with Coach Mo at both Miami (Ohio) and Michigan," former equipment manager Jon Falk said in a statement. "Gary Moeller was a coach that looked out for everyone that worked with him and for all of the players that played for him and represented our program. He was a good-hearted man who made decisions and sought input from his staff to make sure that the decisions were right for Michigan. Gary Moeller will be missed but will not be forgotten. He was a great Michigan Man and a close friend to my family."

He is survived by his wife, Anne, daughters Susan, Amy and Molly, and son Andy, who was a former linebacker and captain at Michigan.

The family will hold a visitation on July 15 in Lima, Ohio, followed by a private family funeral the following day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.