IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Former University of Iowa athletic director Bump Elliott has died, the university announced. He was 94.
Elliott died Saturday, according to a statement from his family that the university released on Sunday. The statement did not include a cause of death.
Elliott was a star halfback for Michigan, winning the Big Ten’s MVP award in 1947. Elliott became Michigan’s coach in 1959 and led the Wolverines for 10 seasons, a tenure that included a Rose Bowl win in 1964.
Elliott was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
“Bump Elliott was one of the great gentlemen in the history of the game. He was one of the legendary players that represented the U of M as a player and coach. He was a beloved figure who was admired and respected by all who knew him," former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said in a statement.
Elliott served as Iowa’s athletic director from 1970-91, 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.
“At first, he didn’t make any promises, but he said, ‘You do well, and I will do well for you,’ and he honored that,” Gable said. “Even though it could have, it never got old for him to see Iowa wrestling win, and that is one of the reasons for our success, because the guy at the top of the department continued to be excited.”
The Elliott family said in a statement released through the Hawkeyes that funeral arrangements are pending.
“For over 75 years, Bump epitomized the best values of the Big Ten athletic conference and its member institutions," the family said. "His fundamental beliefs in academic excellence, gender equality, diversity, honesty and athletic achievement guided his life and career as a student-athlete, coach and administrator.”