Remembering Jim Mandich

The “Mad Dog”, Jim Mandich, died yesterday of cancer of the bile duct. The legendary Miami Dolphin was a great friend of Boca Raton Magazine and was famous for his outspoken style as a broadcaster and color voice of the Dolphins. He was 62.

When he arrived at the Miami Dolphin training camp in the summer of 1970 in sandals, with love beads, a ponytail, one earring and driving a Volkswagen Beatle with flowers painted on it, the straight-laced and no-nonsense Dolphin head coach, Don Shula, nearly went into apoplexy at the thought that this flake represented his tight end hopes for the 70s.

Since that fateful summer day Mandich, who was an academic All-American at Michigan under Bo Schembechler, racked up some impressive credentials in a pro-football career that extended  from 1970-78 with both the Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.

He was an important part of the 17-0, 1972 Dolphins, pro-football’s only undefeated team and had three super bowl rings. When his playing days were over Coach Shula confessed to his close friend Bill Ryan, former President of Post-Newsweek’s Channel 10 in Miami, that Mandich was the smartest player he had ever coached.

Jim parlayed his football playing days into a successful broadcast and business career in Miami. His broadcast duties included work with the University of Miami, numerous color analyst positions for major bowl games, resident sports essayist for Channel 10 in Miami in the 90’s, and most recently was the sports voice of WQAM (560 AM) before he left the station after being diagnosed with cancer.

Our mutually close friend Bill Ryan jokingly told me that Mandich got the most from the least amount of talent than anyone who ever put on a football uniform.

Jim is survived by his wife, Bonnie, and three sons. He was the co-owner and President of Lotspeich Company, a 65-year-old contracting company in Miami. Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich a native of Solon, Ohio, and outspoken color commentator of the Miami Dolphins, was a one-of-a-kind guy who will never be replaced.