Michael Lopez attended Aloha High School in Aloha, Oregon where he was a three-sport athlete earning nine letters in his three years of high school. Michael was a three year letterman and a two way starter for three years in football where he was named All-State at three different positions throughout his high school career. As a defensive back he was named the Oregonian’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. He led the state in interceptions two consecutive years 1980-81’. He finished his high school career with 23 total interceptions. In 1981, he was named to the Gatorade, Adidas, and Carnation All American football teams. In baseball, he was a three year starter and a two year all-league choice as a shortstop. He also started for two years on the basketball team. In 1981, he was the scholar athlete of the Metro League and finalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete award.
Michael earned a full ride scholarship to Oregon State University to play football. He was a four year letterman (1982-85) earning All Pac-10 Conference honors in 1985. His senior season he tied for 2nd in the Pac-10 Conference and for 3rd in the nation for interceptions with six. He played in 43 of 44 games, missing only the opening game his freshmen season. In Michael’s high school and college football seasons (7), he played in 74 of 75 games. Michael earned his B.A. in Communications in 1987.
Michael signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis
Cardinals in 1986. Michael got into coaching at Lewis & Clark College in 1987 after he was released by the Cardinals. In 1988 and 1989 he was a graduate assistant coach at Oregon State University where he earned his Masters Degree in Exercise Sport Science in 1989. In 1990 he was an assistant coach at West Texas State where he coached the secondary.
In 1991 and 1992 he was an assistant coach at Boise State
University where he coached the wide receivers and tight
ends. In 1994 and 1995 he was the offensive coordinator and
coached Quarterback’s and wide receivers at Defiance College in Ohio. In 1996 and 1997 he was the defensive coordinator at Arizona Western University.
In 1996 he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease after experiencing weakness in his left limbs and slurred speech. He was diagnosed by Dr. Robert Miller at the Forbes Norris ALS Center in San Francisco. He was forced to retire from coaching in 1997 because of the disease.
In 1998, Michael founded the TEAM Cure ALS Foundation. Michael was inducted into the Aloha High School Hall of Fame in 2001.
In January of 2013, after a 17-year courageous and extraordinarily hard fought battle, Michael passed away. He
left behind two beautiful daughters, Megan (21) and Molly (16) who gave him his reason to fight. He lived his last 12 years on a ventilator. He communicated through the blink of his eyes and through those who were able to read his lip movement. He was able to operate his computer with the slight movement of his left ring finger and a sensor switch taped to his finger where he used an on screen keyboard. He accomplished much through his limited communication ability. Mike wrote on the hearts of countless and touched so many lives…even those he did not meet personally. He lived everyday to the fullest despite the devastating toll of living with ALS. He had a passion for life and for finding a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Michael Lopez Jr. Channel 2 News Interview November 1996