Bryan Wiedmeier, who rose to the highest level of team leadership during his nearly three decades with the Miami Dolphins, has died after a long battle with brain cancer.
He was 56.
He was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer in October 2012 and given 15 months to live. Wiedmeier beat doctors’ estimates by more than three years. He fought the disease with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, and continued to work for the Cleveland Browns for years after his diagnosis.
Before joining the Browns in 2010, Wiedmeier served under three Dolphins owners during 29 years with the franchise: Joe Robbie, Wayne Huizenga and Stephen Ross.
“On behalf of the entire organization that Bryan served so well for so long, I want to pass along my condolences to his wife, Mary, and the rest of the Wiedmeier family,” Ross said in a statement. “Bryan will always be remembered as a member of the Miami Dolphins.”
He joined the franchise in 1981 in an entry-level capacity. But it didn’t take long for Robbie to see his talent, and Wiedmeier would soon have a hand in almost every department: ticketing, personnel, salary cap, labor and even hurricane preparedness. Wiedmeier also earned a law degree from the University of Miami, studying at night.
Huizenga named Wiedmeier the team’s president and chief operating officer in 2006 and he served in that capacity until Ross bought the team in 2009. Ross kept Wiedmeier on after the change, naming him senior vice president of NFL affairs and special projects. While with the Dolphins, he served on a number of NFL committees and the NFL Players Insurance Trust.
“I was lucky to have the opportunity to get to know Bryan over the last few years,” Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said in a statement. “He was kind, generous of spirit, and deeply passionate about the Dolphins. He is beloved by many in the Dolphins organization and will be greatly missed.”
Wiedmeier is survived by his wife Mary and their five children.