Remembering Craig Roh: A Legacy Beyond the Field

Beloved Michigan Man Craig Roh is gone but not forgotten.
Beloved Michigan Man Craig Roh is gone but not forgotten. Photo: Carlos Osorio, AP.

The University of Michigan and its vast community of fans, alumni, and former athletes are mourning the loss of one of their own, Craig Roh, who has tragically passed away at the tender age of 33 after a valiant 18-month battle with colon cancer. The news, announced by his wife, brings a somber reminder of the fragility of life and the courage it takes to face such a formidable opponent as cancer.

Craig Roh’s journey from a promising freshman to a stalwart defender for the Michigan Wolverines is a tale of talent, hard work, and resilience. Enrolling in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts in 2009, Roh quickly made an impression on the coaching staff with his speed and athleticism, earning a spot in the starting lineup as a true freshman. His unique ability to run alongside teammates with surprising speed for his size led to moments of disbelief and admiration, setting the stage for what would be a remarkable collegiate career.

His role as a “hybrid linebacker” showcased his versatility, playing a position that required him to rush the quarterback, drop into pass coverage, and fill gaps in the defensive line. Roh’s love for the game and his particular zest for sacking the quarterback became evident, but it was his broader appreciation for his versatile role that made him a more complete football player. Under the guidance of head coach Rich Rodriguez and later Brady Hoke, Roh developed into a key player, starting a record 51 games in a row at three different positions and earning an All-Big Ten selection in his senior season.

Beyond his athletic ability, Roh was also recognized for his academic achievements, earning Academic All-Big Ten recognition in 2012. His commitment to excellence on and off the field was a testament to his character and work ethic.

The news of Roh’s passing is not just the loss of a former athlete but the loss of a beloved son, husband, father, and teammate. In the wake of this tragedy, a GoFundMe campaign has been established to support Roh’s wife and young child, highlighting the financial burdens that come with a long-term battle against cancer. The fund aims to cover medical expenses and ensure a future for their son, Max, encapsulating the community’s effort to uphold Roh’s legacy by supporting his family during this difficult time.

Craig Roh’s story is one of remarkable achievements and profound loss. His battle with colon cancer, a fight undertaken with the same resilience he displayed on the football field, ended far too soon. Yet, in his 33 years, Roh left an indelible mark on the Michigan Football program, his family, and all who knew him. His legacy, characterized by determination, versatility, and a relentless spirit, will continue to inspire current and future Wolverines.

The University of Michigan community, friends, and fans extend their deepest sympathies to Craig Roh’s family during this time of mourning. As we remember Roh for the incredible athlete he was, we also celebrate his life, courage, and the lasting impact he made both on and off the field. Craig Roh’s spirit will forever remain a part of the Maize and Blue tapestry, a poignant reminder of strength in the face of adversity.

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