For Holmes Beach resident Mike Deal, football is not just a sport, it’s a way of life.
A lifelong player, coach and scout of the game, Deal was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame earlier this summer, joining his brother and father in the hall.
“It was a great feeling to be so honored,” Deal said. “And to join my father and brother, and the list of great players already in the hall is something special.”
Players and coaches such as Alex Karras, Fred Williamson and Hank Stram are in the hall, along with many others from Indiana who left their mark on the game.
“I can honestly say football has been my life,” Deal said.
Deal played football at the University of Indiana-Bloomington, and in 1969 was a member of the school’s only team to ever go to the Rose Bowl.
After graduation, Deal coached high school football and became a college coach at Wabash University in Crawfordsville, Ind. In 1982, he coached Wabash to an undefeated season.
He coached at Illinois, Arizona, Texas, Marshall and Kansas State, among other schools, as well as in NFL-Europe before becoming a football scout.
Deal scouted for the Denver Broncos for five years and currently works for a scouting company that tracks high school football players, providing information to collegiate combines, recruiting services and ESPN.
He and wife Nancy moved to Holmes Beach in 2000.
The Deals have one daughter, Tiffany, and three grandchildren. Their son-in-law, Jeff Hecklinski, is an assistant football coach at the University of Michigan.