Legendary coach Jack Pardee passes away
[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ack Pardee, a former Texas A&M player University of Houston head coach, died Monday.
Pardee, who was one of Bear Bryant’s “Junction Boys” at A&M, became an All-Pro linebacker and NFL head coach.
He was 76.
Pardee’s family announced in November that he had gall bladder cancer that had spread to other organs and that he had six to nine months to live. The family has established a memorial scholarship fund in Pardee’s name at the University of Houston, where Pardee coached from 1987-89.
In 1954, Pardee was one of just 35 players who made it through Bryant’s legendary 10-day pre-season camp in desolate town of Junction, about 100 miles northwest of San Antonio.
Pardee played three seasons at A&M and was the 14th overall pick in the 1957 NFL draft by Los Angeles. He played for the Rams from 1957-64, sat out a year to deal with melanoma, and played seven more seasons. He finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1973 and coached the team from 1978-80.
Before the NFL, Pardee coached in the World Football League. He coached the Chicago Bears’ from 1975-77, moved to the Redskins and was fired after Washington went 6-10. Pardee served as San Diego’s defensive coordinator for one season, then returned to Texas to coach the USFL’s Houston Gamblers.
When the USFL disbanded in 1987, Pardee became the coach at the University of Houston and brought along the fast-paced “Run-and-Shoot” offense that worked well with the Gamblers.
The NCAA levied severe sanctions on the program in 1988, the result of violations committed under previous coach Bill Yeoman. Houston was banned from playing in a bowl game for two years and banned from playing on television in the 1989 season.
But the Cougars led the nation in total offense (624.9 yards per game) and passing offense (511 yards per game) in 1989, and quarterback Andre Ware became the first black quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. Houston finished 9-2 and ranked No. 14 in the nation.
“Today, we mourn the passing of a great man who dedicated his life to the game of football and was a true gentleman in every sense of the word,” Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades said.
“It was not a coincidence that success followed coach and his teams wherever he worked, and the University of Houston program was blessed to have him lead our football program during some of our most exciting times.”
Pardee became the coach of the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1990, and led the team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. Oilers owner Bud Adams traded star quarterback Warren Moon to Minnesota before the 1994 season, and Pardee resigned after a 1-9 start that year.
He ended his NFL coaching career with a record of 87-77.
Pardee’s last coaching job came when he worked for the Birmingham Barracudas of the Canadian Football League in 1995. His name emerged several years later for the Houston job, but the school hired Kevin Sumlin instead.
His son Ted is the color analyst for Houston football radio broadcasts.
“When my father was diagnosed back around Thanksgiving, we were able to have many great conversations about the past and the future,” Ted said in a statement.
Pardee and his wife, Phyllis, were married for more than 50 years and have five children and 12 grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were pending Monday night.
Photo credit: Robert Deutsch / USA TODAY Sports