Hall of Fame coach Frank 'Muddy' Waters dies at 83

Updated: September 20, 2006, 7:36 PM ET
Associated Press

SAGINAW, Mich. -- Frank "Muddy" Waters, the College Football Hall of Fame coach who had a successful run at Hillsdale College and finished his long career at Michigan State, died Wednesday. He was 83.

Waters died of congestive heart failure in Saginaw, where he had lived several months at an assisted living facility after moving from the Lansing area, Hillsdale spokesman Brad Monastiere said.

Waters coached at Hillsdale from 1954 through 1973, spent the following five seasons at Saginaw Valley State, then was head coach at Michigan State from 1980 through 1982.

Hillsdale won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship in each of Waters' first seven years there. His 1955 team went 9-0 and gained national recognition for refusing to play in the Tangerine Bowl when bowl officials said the team's black players couldn't dress for the game in Orlando, Fla.

Waters' record at Hillsdale was 138-47-5. He started the Saginaw Valley State football program and led the Cardinals to a 24-26-2 record in five seasons.

Waters finished his coaching career at his alma mater, Michigan State, where his Spartans went 10-23 in three seasons.

"Muddy was a true Spartan," Michigan State athletic director Ron Mason said. "He was a caring, wonderful person who represented himself, his program, our university well to our alumni and our fans. We're deeply saddened by his passing, and all of our thoughts are with Muddy's family and friends in this difficult time."

Waters was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He also was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and was named NAIA coach of the year in 1957, when Hillsdale lost 27-26 to Pittsburg State in the national championship game.

Waters is survived by three sons. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lou, and another son.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete. A memorial service was being planned at the Hillsdale campus, where the football stadium is named for Waters, Monastiere said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press