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Former Michigan football star player, coach ‘Bump’ Elliott dies at 94

Detroit News staff and wires

Chalmers “Bump” Elliott, a standout football player at Michigan who later became head coach, passed away Saturday at age 94. Elliott spent 21 years as athletic director at Iowa, which announced his death on Sunday.

Elliott played three sports at Michigan from 1946-48 and was an All-American halfback and the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player in 1947. He led the Big Ten in scoring that season with 54 points.

Bump Elliott in 1966

He spent 21 seasons as a coach, beginning in 1948 at Michigan. He later went to Iowa as an assistant to Forest Evashevski in 1952 and spent five seasons before returning to Michigan as an assistant in 1957 and then became head coach in 1959. In 10 seasons he had a 51-42-2 record, including a victory in the 1964 Rose Bowl.

He resigned after the 1968 season and was associate director of athletics for 18 months. Iowa then hired him as athletic director. He took over on July 1, 1970 and remained in the role until Aug. 1, 1991.

Bo Schembechler succeeded Elliott at Michigan coach.

“Bump Elliott was one of the great gentlemen in the history of the game. He was one of the legendary players that represented UM as a player and coach,” former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said in a statement. “He was a beloved figure who was admired and respected by all who knew him.”

Elliott was credited for reviving Iowa athletics, hiring standout football coach Hayden Fry, wrestling coach Dan Gable and basketball coach Tom Davis, among others.

Fry turned Iowa into annual Big Ten contenders after two decades of mediocrity. Davis guided the Hawkeyes to the Elite Eight in 1986-87, his first at Iowa, and was named national coach of the year that season. Gable, who took over in 1976, went on to win 15 national titles – including nine straight from 1978-86 – under Elliott’s leadership.

Elliott was elected to the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.