Michael McCaskey, who led the Chicago Bears for nearly three decades following the death of his grandfather George Halas, died Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer, the team said. He was 76.
A Yale graduate and the oldest of Ed and team matriarch Virginia McCaskey’s 11 children, Michael joined the family business in 1983 as president and CEO following the death of Halas, a founding father of the NFL and the franchise. He succeeded Ed McCaskey as chairman in 1999 and remained in that role until brother George McCaskey took over in 2011.
The Bears made 12 playoff appearances and captured their lone Super Bowl title during Michael McCaskey’s tenure leading the franchise. He was chosen NFL Executive of the Year by his peers following the 1985 championship season.
McCaskey served on several NFL committees. He was also instrumental in the Bears moving their headquarters from the original Halas Hall at Lake Forest College to a state-of-the-art home nearby in 1997, giving them an indoor practice facility on their own campus.
McCaskey co-founded in 2005 the Bears’ charitable foundation, which has granted over $21 million to more than 100 agencies in the Chicago area focusing on education, youth athletics, medical research and health awareness.
He was also a member of the NFL’s Long Range Planning Committee, Expansion Committee, Stadium Committee and Finance Committee.
McCaskey spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching science, English and music to junior high students in Ethiopia. He earned a doctorate in in business from Case Western Reserve University in 1972 and taught organizational behavior and management courses at UCLA for three years before joining the faculty of the Harvard Business School.