Grey Cup-winning Bombers assistant coach John Michels dies at 87

John Michels, who won two Grey Cups as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has died, He was 87.

Joined Bud Grant's staff in 1959 and eventually followed legendary coach to Minnesota

John Michels enjoyed a successful stint as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before following head coach Bud Grant to Minnesota, where he spent 27 years with the Vikings. (Minnesota Vikings)

John Michels, who won two Grey Cups as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has died. He was 87.

Michels' daughter, Sarah Michels-Dunkel, said Friday that her father died Thursday in Kingsport, Tenn.

After a hall-of-fame career as an offensive lineman at the University of Tennessee, Michels played two seasons in the National Football League before joining the Bombers as a player under head coach Bud Grant in 1957.

Michels joined Grant's coaching staff in 1959, winning the Grey Cup that season and again in 1961. He stayed with the Blue and Gold as an assistant through 1966, when he followed Grant to the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Michels worked for 27 seasons with the Vikings, all but one of them as offensive line coach, helping to guide the team to four Super Bowl appearances. His stretch from 1967 until 1993, made him the longest-tenured assistant coach in franchise history.

Michels played guard on Tennessee's 1951 national championship team and earned consensus All-America honours in 1952.

After leaving college, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1953, before joining the U.S. Army, where he served as a first lieutenant from 1954-56. He played one more season with the Eagles in 1956 before joining the Bombers.

Michels was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and entered the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He was inducted into the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame in 1995.

Files from The Associated Press


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.