BURLINGAME, Calif. – Hall of Fame coach Bob Blackman, who compiled a 29-36-1 record at Illinois in the 1970s, died Friday of complications from an infection. He was 81.
Carl Meyer couldn't believe the news about his friend. Meyer worked on Blackman's staff at Illinois and Dartmouth.
"What a shock," Meyer said. "The guy was in such great shape."
Blackman was first stricken while traveling with his wife in Singapore. He was on his way to Los Angeles for treatment, but the plane made an emergency medical stop for him in San Francisco. The Blackman home is in Hilton Head, S.C.
Blackman earned his Hall of Fame credentials during 16 years at Dartmouth. The Big Green went 104-37-3 with Blackman and had three undefeated seasons.
In 1970, Blackman earned national coach of the year honors after leading Dartmouth to the No. 14 ranking in the country. No Ivy school has reached that high since.
"He was a football genius," Meyer said. "He was a visionary. The guy was ahead of his time."