ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Bennie Oosterbaan, the last University of Michigan football coach to win a national championship, died Thursday night in an Ann Arbor nursing home. He was 84.
"He was very close to his players," said Bo Schembechler, former Michigan coach and current president of the Detroit Tigers. "They revered him, because they knew he was a quality guy. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Bennie Oosterbaan."
Oosterbaan became a Michigan assistant in 1928 and head coach in 1948, winning the national championship his first year at the helm. During his 11 years as head coach, Michigan won three Big Ten championships and the 1951 Rose Bowl by defeating California, 14-6. His record was 66-33-4.
In the 1920s, Oosterbaan starred as a player at Michigan in football, basketball and baseball.
Ron Kramer, who played for Oosterbaan, said the former coach entered the nursing home several weeks ago after breaking his hip. Oosterbaan's wife died several months ago, Kramer said.