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Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008

John Pont, IU's Rose Bowl coach, dies at 80

July 1, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - John Pont, who coached the Indiana University football team to its only Rose Bowl appearance, died today (July 1) in Oxford Ohio. He was 80.

Pont was the head football coach at IU from 1965-72. His 1967 Hoosiers compiled a surprise 9-2 record, won a share of the Big Ten title and played in the 1968 Rose Bowl against the University of Southern California. Pont was honored that year as NCAA Division 1-A Coach of the Year.

He is survived by his wife, Sandy, and children John, Jennifer and Jeff.

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, traveling with a delegation of university presidents in Israel, issued the following statement:

"John Pont exemplified leadership and great success during his years as head football coach at Indiana University. He was committed to ensuring the academic, as well as the athletic, success of his players and always represented his team and the university with class and professionalism.

"I was pleased that he could attend the ceremonies last year celebrating the IU Rose Bowl team. It was an honor for me to meet him. Indiana University mourns his passing and extends our condolences to his family."

A Canton, Ohio, native, Pont starred as a halfback at Miami (Ohio) University, leading the Mid-American Athletic Conference in rushing for two years, and later served in the Navy. His head coaching career included terms at Indiana, where his overall career record was 31-51-1, and at Miami, Yale and Northwestern.

In later years, Pont was the first coach at College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati when it started a football program and served as a consultant to a semi-professional football league in Japan. He retired to Oxford, Ohio, where he was a volunteer coach at a local high school and attended Miami University practices. He was a member of the Miami University and Indiana University Halls of Fame and the Miami Cradle of Coaches Association.

Visitation will be on Sunday, July 6, from 3-6 p.m. at Smith and Ogle Funeral Home, 5086 College Corner Pike in Oxford, Ohio. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Oxford on Monday, July 7, at 10 a.m. Burial will be in the Miami University section of the Oxford Cemetery. The public is invited to attend all of the observances.