Former Black Bear football player and University of Maine Sports Hall of Famer Manchester "Manch" Wheeler has passed away at the age of 79.

"The University of Maine football team extends our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Manch Wheeler," UMaine head coach Joe Harasymiak said in news release on Monday. "Manch was a tremendous player and ambassador to our football family. His presence at Alfond Stadium will be sorely missed."

He led the team in passing in 1959, 1960 and 1961 and led the defense in interceptions in 1960 and 1961. Wheeler also was second in scoring in 1960 and third in rushing yardage in 1961.

Wheeler, an Augusta native, was selected to the All-Conference teams for both the Maine State Conference and the Yankee Conference in 1961. He also was named the 1961 Harold Westerman Most Valuable Player for the Black Bears.

He played one season with the Buffalo Bills following his career at Maine.

No further details surrounding Wheeler's death were provided in the release.

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