Former NFL and college football coach Jack Pardee died on Monday due to complications from gall bladder cancer. His death comes roughly six months after he was diagnosed with gall bladder and liver cancer. He was 76 years old.
Pardee was one of the first head coaches to bring the run-and-shoot offense to the NFL. After beginning his coaching career in the World Football League, Pardee became the head coach of the Chicago Bears in 1975. Following two seasons in Chicago, he became the head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1978 and was named the Associated Press NFL Head Coach of the Year in 1979.
After a stint in the USFL, Pardee returned to college as the head coach of the Houston Cougars and he brought the run-and-shoot offense with him after picking it up in the USFL. Pardee spent three seasons with Houston, compiling a 22-11-1 coaching record. In 1989, with the help of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Andre Ware, Pardee led Houston to a 95-21 win against SMU. The Cougars finished the 1989 season 9-2, and they led the nation in total offense by averaging 624.9 yards per game, including 511 passing yards per game.
Pardee jumped back to the NFL in 1990 with the Houston Oilers and went on to lead Houston to the playoffs in three of his four years as head coach. Pardee finished his coaching career in 1995 with the Birmingham Barracudas of the CFL. He nearly made a comeback in 2007 when he interviewed for the Houston Cougars' opening which eventually went to Kevin Sumlin.
In addition to his coaching exploits, Pardee was also an excellent player. He played linebacker for Bear Bryant at Texas A&M as one of the original "Junction Boys." He was the No. 14 selection in the 1957 NFL Draft and went on to become an All-Pro in the NFL. Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Here is some of the reaction from the college football and NFL worlds following the news:
Pardee was one of the alltime great guys and one of the alltime toughest guys. Rest in peace Jack.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) April 1, 2013
Jack Pardee was one of Texas A&M's 'Junction Boys' who played for Bear Bryant. He was also Walter Payton's first NFL head coach.— Dane Noble (@WCGBearsBlog) April 1, 2013
Sad to hear of the passing of Jack Pardee. Great player. And helped bring my favorite offense to pro football: The run-and-shoot— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) April 1, 2013
@edsbs Andre ware had arms in td pose with helmet off before wrs caught bombs, dl showed our OL moves after game— Coach Rob Paschall (@togfootball) April 2, 2013
Jack Pardee once hung 95 on SMU. Probably to piss off Craig James and to pay homage to the hookers. Good bull, Jack.— Good Bull Hunting (@GBHunting) April 2, 2013
Thoughts and prayers for the Pardee family. A great Coach and even better man. He will be missed, but his legacy of innovation will live on.— Kevin Sumlin (@CoachSumlin) April 2, 2013