Coach Extraordinaire Ed Michael '65
As an Ithaca High School lineman he tackled running back Ernie Davis (who went on to become a Syracuse all-American and the first African American to win the Heisman trophy). At IC, where he majored in physical education, he was on not only the football team but the wrestling team as well. All along he had one career goal in mind: to be a coach.
Ed Michael ’65 met that goal—and then some. After earning his master’s degree at the University of Maryland, Ed began coaching wrestling and lacrosse at Corning Community College, where in five years his wrestling teams’ record (45-5) brought attention from athletics directors at bigger schools, including the University of Buffalo. He was recruited to UB and joined its staff as a wrestling coach in 1970. Over the next 21 years his teams won the NCAA Division III national championship (1978), 7 times won the New York State Collegiate Wrestling championship, and 13 times were in the top 20 in the NCAA national rankings. Ed coached 40 all-Americans and 105 individual tournament champions.
But Ed was more than a coach. In 1988 he became associate athletic director for recreation and intramural services, and three years later, as associate professor, he became director of recreation and intramural services. As such he planned and ran UB’s evolving program, which emphasized a holistic, fun approach to fitness and sports.
As coach, administrator, and educator Ed worked with thousands of students, not just student-athletes but also those who wanted to enjoy sports recreationally without the stress of competition. Physical education classes were no longer required, so he developed a program that offers everything from aerobics to kayaking to racquetball to yoga. “There is something for everybody,” he said of the program in 2005, shortly before he retired.
Ed’s nearly four-decade career garnered him induction into seven athletic halls of fame: the National Junior College Region III, New York State College Wrestling Coaches Association, New York State chapter of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, Ithaca High School, UB, and Ithaca College.