Growing up, Mike MacIntyre idolized his father, George.
That admiration never wavered as Mike became an adult, making this past season a difficult one for the Colorado head football coach, who watched from afar as his father’s health declined.
On Tuesday, Mike lost his idol, as George passed away in Nashville after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
George, 76, was a football coach from 1961 to 1998, most notably as the head coach at Vanderbilt University from 1979-85. He posted a 43-66-1 record as a head coach and earned the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year Award in 1982. That season, he guided the Commodores to an 8-4 record and a spot in the Hall of Fame Bowl.
“George MacIntyre made a significant contribution to the history of Vanderbilt football,” former Vandy athletic director Roy Kramer said on the school’s website. “He arrived at a time when the program was down and he brought excitement back to the campus and city.
“He was an extremely solid human being. He had concern for his players and was committed to them more than simply being their coach. He cared about their lives. He brought the qualities of honesty, integrity and character that made him successful on and off the field of play. He was involved with the Nashville community and even though he struggled with ill health in the later stages of his life he always kept a twinkle in his eye.”
Mike MacIntyre played two seasons for his father at Vanderbilt and, in 1990, followed his father’s path into coaching.
Mike has often stated that his father’s example has helped shape him as a man and a coach.
George’s health has been a primary concern for the MacIntyre family in recent years, and it weighed heavily on Mike this past season.
Prior to CU’s Pac-12 opener against Oregon on Oct. 3, he found out that his father and mother-in-law were going into the hospital, and it pained Mike that he couldn’t be in Nashville with them.
In November, his mother in law passed away and he made a quick trip back to Nashville for her funeral. Mike was able to spend the holidays in Nashville.
George is survived by his wife, Betty, and two sons, Mike and Matt. According to Vanderbilt, funeral arrangements were not complete by Tuesday night.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.