Former Ferris State Football Coach Bob Leach Passes Away
The university announced his passing on Thursday.
Leach coached the Bulldogs from 1967-70 and turned around a program that had gone 1-26-2 in the previous three seasons prior to his arrival and led Ferris State to an undefeated 7-0-1 mark in 1968 and a No. 17 ranking in the NAIA national poll. Leach earned NAIA Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors in 1968.
Ferris State’s 1968 season saw the Bulldogs go from a winless 0-7-1 campaign in 1967 and cap off the 1968 season with a 29-28 victory over NCAA Division I Illinois State.
“We’re truly saddened to lose such a great Bulldog with the passing of Coach Bob Leach,” Ferris State athletics director Perk Weisenburger said in a statement. “In addition to being a Hall of Famer and a revered coach, he was also one of the most outstanding human beings I have ever known. He meant so much to so many and our thoughts are certainly with Mary Louise, the Leach family and all those impacted by his loss.”
Following the 1970 season, Leach left Ferris State to become the defensive line coach for the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL. Following two seasons with the Cardinals, Leach returned to Big Rapids and Ferris State and served as an executive administrator in the school’s alumni and development areas until retiring in 1995.
Leach was inducted into the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 as part of the hall of fame’s charter class. Leach’s 1968 team became the school’s first team to be inducted into the hall of fame in 2017.
“There’s no question he impacted so many young men that came thru his program, many of whom he continued to impact as adults and they still have such great respect for him to this day,” Ferris State head football coach Tony Annese said. “As a head coach at Ferris State, he was a true Bulldog and certainly left a lasting legacy. We offer our support and condolences to his family.”
A Flint native, Leach, a member of the University of Michigan’s 1953 NCAA national championship winning baseball team, coached at his alma mater Flint Central High School from 1958-66 and at Carson City High School. Leach accumulated more than 100 wins at the high school and collegiate level and also coached the Big Rapids Brewers of the Michigan Charity Football League.
In addition to the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame induction, Leach is also a member of the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame and Mecosta County Sports Hall of Fame.
Ferris State is planning to host a memorial/celebration of life for Leach this fall.