Former Bears president and CEO Michael McCaskey dies at 76

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Michael McCaskey, who succeeded his grandfather George Halas as president and CEO of the Chicago Bears, has died at the age of 76. McCaskey’s passing comes after a lengthy battle with cancer.

He was the eldest of Virginia McCaskey’s 11 children. He leaves behind two children, John and Kathryn, and a grandson, Jackson.

“Mike was already successful in every sense of the word when he took over for George S. Halas after the passing of ‘Papa Bear’ in 1983,” said the McCaskey family in a statement issued by the team. “We are grateful to Mike for overseeing arguably the greatest team in NFL history, and for his many years of service to the Bears and to us. The oldest of eleven siblings has many duties thrust upon him, not all of them pleasant, yet Mike handled them all with grace and patience. Although Mike’s passing was not brought on by the novel coronavirus, our family, like so many people, is not able to gather and grieve together at this time. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Our focus in the coming days will be to celebrate Mike’s life, and be whatever source of support we can be to John and Kathryn and those they love.”

A Yale graduate in 1965, McCaskey served in a Peace Corps, earned a doctorate in business from Case Western Reserve, and taught at UCLA and the Harvard Business School before joining the family business. He served as president and CEO until 1999, at which time he became the team’s Chairman of the Board. McCaskey stayed in that position through 2011.

“My heart is heavy as I think about Michael McCaskey and can’t believe he is no longer with us,” said Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips. “His fierce love of the Bears was unmatched as was his intellectual capacity and thirst for knowledge on a myriad of subjects. Michael displayed a professorial presence that could be challenging, but was also inspiring. I will be forever grateful for the many opportunities for growth that he provided me, as well as for his trust and support. Michael always strived to do things the right way with high character and with the Bears best interests always paramount. Michael was a good man, gone much too soon. He presided over the only Super Bowl Championship Chicago Bears team in 1985, and I know he is still smiling about that magical season. God bless Michael and his family.”

We extend our condolences to the McCaskey family, to Michael’s friends and colleagues, and to the Bears organization.

10 responses to “Former Bears president and CEO Michael McCaskey dies at 76

  1. Very sad. Must be awful for Mrs McCaskey who is a great age herself to bury a child and the family cannot grieve properly. May he RIEP.

  2. Michael McCaskeys legacy will be a complicated one in Chicago. He was thought to be the DEVIL by many Bears fans for firing Da COACH who presided over the ’85 Bears that his grandfather hired. But no parent should have to bury their child. May he rest in peace.

  3. I didnt start thinking about my mortality until 2010, when I turned 40.
    10 years later it is seriously real.

  4. Packer fan here. Thoughts and prayers go out to the McCaskey family! Sometimes you have to put football aside and focus on the family!!

  5. Sincere condolences to the McCaskey family, the Bears’ organization and all the Bears’ fans that hang out here.

    Look, I’m a Packers’ fan. I’ll admit that at the outset…and I get TONS of joy when the Pack beats the Bears and TONS of misery when the Bears beat the Pack – but I’ll tell you, there are only a few (if any) teams that equal the impact the Bears organization and Halas family have had on the NFL. When I was a young man, I’d blast the Bears fans with all of the vitriol that they’ve so richly earned – BUT – the organization?, first class, top-notch. Hard times now, but, a legacy NFL franchise. I’m proud to share the greatest rivalry in the NFL with the Bears and their fans. I know how I feel when another one of the players I grew up idolizing passes away … and I can only assume the majority of good, long-time Bears’ fans are experiencing this now – like when Sweetness passed away. To all of you, sorry for your loss.

  6. Sad to see any member of the Bears family pass. God’s Speed Mr. McCaskey.

  7. RIP to this man as i’m no Bears fan, but as long as this family runs this organization this team will be mediocre at best.

  8. I feel sad mostly for Mrs. McCaskey, as was mentioned, no parent should have to bury their child. Obviously nobody involved with the management of the ’85 Bears handled that time well. They should have won at least one more but Michael drew most of the blame. I think Mr. Halas groomed his son , Virginia’s brother to take over but he died too early and the family was seemingly never well prepared to oversee the football part of the operation when Mr. Halas passed. He took a lot of heat for firing Ditka but I ageed with him, it was time for a change. Ditka wasn’t exactly successful in NO and his whole draft trade for Ricky Williams somewhat validated Michael’s decision. He just wasn’t groomed for that job. Condolences to the family, the fans are here for you.

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