Big Rapids, Mich. - Family members have announced a memorial service has been planned for legendary Bulldog Football head coach and longtime supporter Bob Leach, who passed away on May 27.
The memorial and celebration of life for Coach Leach will take place on Sunday, Sept. 20, at Clear Lake Golf Club located at 14777 150th Avenue in Big Rapids. A friends and family visitation will take place at 12 p.m. (ET) with a memorial starting at 1 p.m. (ET) and a reception to follow.
Coach Leach, who guided the school's first-ever unbeaten team in 1968, remained a loyal and dedicated supporter of the Bulldogs and continued to attend FSU events along with his wife, Mary Louise, to the very end. They were strong supporters of not only Ferris State Football, but also Bulldog Volleyball in addition to other varsity teams and student-athletes.
Each summer, Leach also took part in the annual Bulldog Football Golf Outing, often playing with his sons Randy and Dean, and he played a key leadership role over the years in helping develop and maintain the longstanding tradition of Ferris State Football.
Leach was inducted into the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame as a charter class member in 2000 and his 1968 squad became the first team to earn induction into the hall of fame in 2017.
Leach coached Ferris' first unbeaten team as the 1968 Bulldogs went 7-0-1, cementing their place as one of the program's top teams in history. He took over a program that was 1-26-2 in the three seasons prior to his arrival and led the Bulldogs to an NAIA 17th-place national ranking in 1968. Leach was chosen as Michigan's Coach of the Year in 1968 as well as NAIA Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
The Flint native departed to become the defensive line coach for the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals from 1971-72. He returned to Ferris in 1973 and served as an executive administrator in the alumni and development areas for the next 20 plus years until retiring in 1995.
The 1968 Bulldog Football team, which was Leach's second year at the helm, holds the distinction of being the program's first-ever squad to record an undefeated season. The Bulldogs started out the memorable campaign with a tie in their season opener before reeling off seven consecutive victories, including a hard-fought 29-28 win over NCAA Division I Illinois State in the season finale (11/9/68). The undefeated season capped a remarkable turnaround as the Bulldogs finished 0-7-1 the year before in 1967. He served as the head coach at Ferris from 1967-70.
Under Leach's leadership, members of the 1968 football team have also continued to be supportive of Ferris State University as they later established a scholarship endowment to benefit future Bulldog gridiron student-athletes and were instrumental in helping raise funds to bring back the Victory Bell at Top Taggart Field.
Born and raised in Flint, Leach was a member of Flint Central High School's Class A State Championship football team and later coached at his alma mater from 1958-66. He also was a member of the University of Michigan's National Championship baseball team in 1953 and was previously inducted into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and also into the Mecosta County Sports Hall of Fame. He coached four years at Carson City High School and nine more at Flint Central before taking over at FSU. Overall, he won more than 100 games on the prep and collegiate levels as a head football coach and later coached the Big Rapids Brewers of the Michigan Charity Football League.