ESPN is reporting that Pete Elliott, a former Michigan All-American quarterback who later went on to serve as executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Friday at the age of 86.
‘‘Pete was beloved by the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family, including the staff, board of trustees, and the Hall of Fame members,” said Steve Perry, the organization’s president and executive director. ‘‘He was a kind and thoughtful person and an inspiration to us all. We are all better for having had him in our lives.”
A native of Bloomington, Illinois, Elliott was the first athlete in Michigan’s history to win 12 letters – four each in football, basketball, and golf. During his time as a Wolverine (1945-48), Elliot led the squad to back-to-back undefeated seasons twice.
The 9-0 1948 team was crowned national champions by the Associated Press while the 10-0 team of 1947 finished second in the polls with Notre Dame winning the championship.
After college, Elliott joined the coaching ranks, winning two national titles as an assistant at Oklahoma. He served as head coach at Nebraska, California, Illinois and Miami. He stepped down from Miami in 1975 to become athletic director, a position he held until 1978.
After his college coaching stint, Pete went on to serve as executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 1979 until his retirement in 1996. His 17-year tenure as the organization’s director is the longest in the history of the museum.
Elliott was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Pete Elliot is survived by son and daughter-in-law Bruce and Cheryl Elliott of Ann Arbor, Mich., and son and daughter-in-law David and Peggy Elliott of Boardman.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Joan.