WMU football mourns deaths of two former standouts

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Rivalry week is off to a somber start at Western Michigan, as two former Broncos football players recently died.

Paul Hutchins, an offensive lineman who went on to play briefly for the Green Bay Packers, was killed in a car accident. Chad Munson, who played quarterback for two years at Western Michigan, died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Two former Western Michigan football players recently died.

Western Michigan confirmed the deaths Sunday.

Athletic director Kathy Beauregard wrote Saturday on Twitter, "Hard week for our Football Bronco Family. Prayers go to all feeling loss of Chad Munson & Paul Hutchins. Broncos For Life."

Hutchins, 47, lettered four years for the Broncos, and was a member of the 1988 Mid-American Conference championship team. He was a captain his senior season in 1992, before the Packers selected him in the sixth round of the 1993 NFL Draft.

He played 17 games in 1992 and 1993 for the Packers, protecting Hall-of-Fame quarterback Brett Favre and routinely went up against late legend Reggie White in practice. Seven years after his football career ended, he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that eventually led to a double-kidney transplant, according a 2013 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

It was not immediately clear what day Hutchins died or where the accident happened. His one child, son P.J., was in the car and survived, Western Michigan confirmed. Hutchins was a native of Chicago.

Munson, 36, died Wednesday after a 10-year battle with cancer. A native of Torrance, Calif., he played in 2002 and 2003 for Western Michigan, appearing in 20 games his junior and senior seasons. For his career, he threw for 4,283 yards and 30 touchdowns, including 333 yards in a 26-21 season-opening defeat to Michigan State in 2003. Six times during his career, he threw for more than 300 yards, with a high of 450 against William & Mary in 2003.

Munson is survived by two daughters, Hannah and Parker. A GoFundMe page was set up for Munson's children, with nearly $13,000 being raised in 10 days.

Western Michigan hosts rival Central Michigan on Wednesday night at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo.