Jim Mandich Alumni Weekend Ceremonies
The halftime ceremony was moving, starting with Hall-of-Fame coach Don Shula making some opening remarks. Behind him a group of hand picked fans formed the number 88 in honor of Mandich.
How appropriate it was that the sun came out again to brighten the field as Shula officially inducted Mandich into the Honor Roll and his name and number were unveiled.
“It’s bittersweet because of course he’s not here to see it,” said Mandich’s widow, Bonnie. “But it’s a wonderful gesture, especially since the fans pushed so hard for it and it’s a beautiful day. I know he’s looking down and going, ‘Wow, my wife and my children are doing the best that they can, which we’re trying. It’s only been seven months, which is not that long, but to see his name up there just means so much to our family.”
Mandich’s son Michael took the microphone next and his brothers Nick and Mark stood behind him with their mother wearing shirts emblazoned with a drawing of Mad Dog’s face on the front. Michael is the oldest and knew he wanted to make his father proud with his words.
“Honestly my biggest worry was breaking down and crying because I knew I had spoken from the heart on my thoughts and feelings were on this,” Michael said. “But when I got out there I guess maybe because of the adrenaline and everything I wasn’t at risk because I cried many times writing that speech. It came off really well I think and it was very special to see his name forever etched into Dolphins history. We’re very happy that he’s being honored this way.”
Owner Steve Ross, former owner Wayne Huizenga and CEO Mike Dee also stood out on the field with the family and Bonnie couldn’t thank them and the entire organization for helping to make this happen.