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Al Glick, Michigan football donor, dies at 95: 'The world has lost one of its best'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Al Glick, chairman and CEO of Jackson-based Alro Steel and known for his philanthropy, most notably to the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital and Michigan football, has died.

Glick was 95.

Al Glick

His name appears on the Michigan football indoor facility — “Al Glick Field House” — after donating $8.7 million to the $26.1 million project that opened in 2009. His name also appears on the football weight room, the “Glick Family Performance Center” and he donated to the renovations of Michigan Stadium in 2010. The Alvin Glick Foundation donated $3 million in 2011 to Mott Children’s Hospital in the name of former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, with whom he was close friends.

“My thoughts are with the Glick Family and those who have been touched by the gentleness, the kindness, the goodness and the greatness of our dear friend, Al Glick,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a statement released Tuesday. “In this moment, I thank God for bringing Al into my life. His enthusiasm for life, his treating others as he would be treated, his leaving our world a better place, motivates me to be better tomorrow, to make him proud.

“Al has provided much support for his beloved University of Michigan and the football program. He has provided much more in giving us a road map for living our lives humbly and happily. Go Blue, my beloved friend.”

Glick often attended Michigan sporting events and was a fixture courtside at basketball games. 

“Al was an amazing man who touched so many with his kindness, generosity and love for others,” former Michigan basketball coach John Beilein said in a statement. “It was always comforting to look over and see him sitting beside me for every home game. I was always trying to get him to help me coach and to call the first play, however, he always gracefully declined.

“One of my fondest memories was grabbing him and hugging him after our last-second win over MSU. He was so shocked that he was the first person I grabbed. But you cannot measure the impact Al has had on the University of Michigan and so many other people and places. My family and I will miss him and his friendship. The world has lost one of its best!”

Current Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard also mourned Glick’s loss.

“When you think of the term Michigan Man, one of the first people I think of is Al,” Howard said in a statement. “He had such an incredible impact not just with the University of Michigan but the world as well. There was just something about him. He had the biggest heart. He was willing to help anyone and did so without thinking twice. It was a blessing to know him as an athlete and even more so when my family and I returned to Ann Arbor. We have lost a very special man.”

Although many of his biggest and most publicized donations were to Michigan athletics and Mott Hospital, Glick also generously donated to Jackson youth sports teams and recreational teams, sponsored the “Al Glick Baseball and Softball Classics” in his hometown, and in 2020 presented a $10 million gift to Jackson Public Schools to fund a multi-purpose indoor fieldhouse.

The origins of Alro Steel dates back 1916 when Al Glick’s father Louis Glick and his family arrived in Jackson and started Glick Iron & Metal, a scrap metal business.

This was the family business, but Al wanted to become a sportswriter. He worked part-time four years in the newspaper business for the Jackson Citizen Patriot before his older brother, Rob, came to him an idea to open a steel business.

With $5,000 that Al’s father had given him for college, he bought into the idea and the company, Alro Steel, was born in 1948. The name, Alro, was a combination of the first two letters in each brother’s first name.

Glick was presented with the Michigan Manufacturers Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and also was named the Metals Service Center Executive of the Year in 2000.

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis