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Colorado University quarterback Jeff Knapple, left, confers with coach Bill Mallory in thehis 1977 photo. Knapple later went on to play for the Denver Broncos.
John Sunderland / Denver Post file
Colorado University quarterback Jeff Knapple, left, confers with coach Bill Mallory in thehis 1977 photo. Knapple later went on to play for the Denver Broncos.

Bill Mallory, who led Colorado to a share of the Big Eight football title in 1976, passed away on Friday.

Mallory, who coached the Buffaloes for five seasons (1974-78), was 82.

Mallory suffered a fall near his home in Bloomington, Ind., on Tuesday and suffered a brain injury in the process. He underwent emergency surgery to relieve pressure on the brain, but there was no improvement and he was moved to an area hospice on Thursday.

Mallory, who became the all-time wins leader at Indiana, compiled a record of 168-129-4 in 27 seasons as a college head coach.

“Our condolences to the Mallory family for Bill’s untimely passing,” said CU athletic director Rick George. “It was always heartening to see how he was embraced by his former players, and how years after his time here as coach he started coming back to various reunions and other functions so he could once again be around some of the players he coached and helped mature into men.”

At CU, Mallory went 35-21-1, leading the Buffs to two bowl games.

Mallory coached Colorado to its first share of a Big Eight football title since 1961 when the Buffaloes were tied atop the league standings in 1976 with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with 5-2 records; but by virtue of CU’s wins over both OU and OSU, the Buffs were awarded the conference’s automatic berth into the Orange Bowl.

“We had gone 5-6 my sophomore year before Coach Mallory came in,” former Buff Dave Logan recalled. “The things that I remember most about Coach Mallory is that he brought and old school toughness to the program, a higher level of accountability and in terms of how we practiced, in a very physical style. He stressed to every player that you are accountable to the program, your teammates, the coaching staff and the university.

“It wasn’t all smooth sailing for sure, but looking back on it, it was a valuable two years for me,” Logan said. “Coach definitely humbled a number of us, but he would always find a way to build us back up and I’m forever grateful for the kind of head coach he was.”

At Colorado, he saw 37 of his seniors drafted into the National Football League, and another 16 players that he and his staff recruited in subsequent years. Seven different players earned first-team All-America honors, while 13 earned first-team All-Big Eight honors.

“A hard-nosed tough coach, who demanded that toughness from his players,” said Brian Cabral, who lettered four years at linebacker from 1974-77. “I have all the respect for instilling that in me. That’s how I survived in the NFL my first four years with four different teams before setline in permanently with the (Chicago) Bears.

“But that’s life,” he continued. “Life isn’t easy, and he taught us many life lessons as well. But in his competitiveness, his intensity and toughness, you could not help but believe that he cared about you. And that all he was demanding was your best.

“I saw him as a father figure. Since his kids were always around, we were big brothers to his family, and you always saw his wife Ellie a lot, and that was tribute to his marriage and left a great impression on us. I can certainly say that I would not be the man I am or the coach I was if not for Bill Mallory’s impact on my life.”

After sitting out the 1979 season, he returned to coaching in 1980 back in his old conference, the MAC, where he would coach Northern Illinois to a 25-19 mark over four season. In 1983, he led the Huskies to a 10-2 record, the MAC title with an 8-1 mark, and a 20-13 win over Cal State Fullerton in the California Bowl in Fresno.

Indiana then came calling, where he would eventually wrap his coaching career. In 13 seasons at the reins of the Hoosiers, IU was 69-77-3; but were 60-42-3 in the nine seasons between 1986 and 1994 including invitations to six of 11 bowl games in their history. He became the Hoosiers’ all-time winningest football coach.

William Guy Mallory was born May 30, 1935 in Glendale, West Va., but grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, where he lettered in football, basketball and track in high school. He graduated from Miami (Ohio) University in 1958, where he lettered three years at end under the legendary coach Ara Parseghian and then John Pont; he earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior. Prior to being named head coach at Miami, he was a graduate assistant at Bowling Green, where he earned his Master’s degree in Education, Yale and Ohio State, where he worked for the late Woody Hayes.

His wife Ellie, their four children, Barbara, Mike, Doug and Curt and other family members were by his bedside in his last days.

Anyone wishing to send stories, memories, notes and/or condolences to the family can do so at a special email they created:

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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