— Jeff Mruk (@JeffMruk) April 20, 2022
Babich was a native of Youngstown, Ohio and played at Campbell Memorial High School in Campbell, Ohio.
He then played college ball at Miami (Ohio) University for then coach Bo Schembechler.
Babich was twice voted by his teammates as the program’s MVP and he also received Miami’s “Athlete of the Year” for the 1968-69 academic year.
Additionally, he was a unanimous two-time Mid-American Conference linebacker
In 1968, Babich was voted a first-team All-American and was also voted the “Defensive Player of the Year” in the MAC.
First Round Draft Pick
Babich’s play at the collegiate level got him noticed by several pro scouts and he was selected with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 1969 draft by the San Diego Chargers.
In three seasons with the Chargers, Babich started nearly every game.
During that period, he collected two interceptions and five fumble recoveries including one returned for a score (the NFL did not keep track of tackle stats at the time).
In 1973 the Chargers traded Babich to the Browns for future draft picks.
Unfortunately, he arrived in Cleveland at the beginning of a playoff dry spell for the organization.
After decades of consistent, playoff-bound success, the Browns reached the postseason in 1972 then did not return until 1980.
However, Babich was a consistent presence for the team and rarely missed a game.
His six seasons in Cleveland produced four interceptions and one fumble recovery.
After the 1978 season, Babich retired from the game.
— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) April 20, 2022
During his nine-year career, Babich played in 125 total games and had 86 starts.
He had six total interceptions and six fumble recoveries including one for a touchdown.
Once he retired from the game, Babich operated his own firm for more than two decades in the insurance, financial services and real estate lending industry.
Honors and Accolades
While he was still playing in the NFL, Babich was inducted into the Miami University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975.
In 1994, he was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Babich is currently the only player from Miami of Ohio to be elected into the Hall.
“An exceptional hard-hitting linebacker, Bob Babich made his mark in Oxford, (Ohio), as one of the best in the country,” NFF chairman Archie Manning said in a statement. “He was a great guy to be around with a great sense of humor and full of great stories. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”