Jack Pardee

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Jack Pardee
Jack Pardee as Houston Cougars head football coach.jpg
Pardee as head coach of the Houston Cougars football team
Biographical details
Born(1936-04-19)April 19, 1936
Exira, Iowa
DiedApril 1, 2013(2013-04-01) (aged 76)
Denver, Colorado
Playing career
1954–1956 Texas A&M
1957–1970 Los Angeles Rams
1971–1973 Washington Redskins
Position(s) Fullback, linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1974 Florida Blazers
1975–1977 Chicago Bears
1978–1980 Washington Redskins
1981 San Diego Chargers (DC)
1984–1985 Houston Gamblers
1987–1989 Houston
1990–1994 Houston Oilers
1995 Birmingham Barracudas
Head coaching record
Overall87–77 (NFL)
23–13 (USFL)
22–11–1 (college)
10–8 (CFL)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1986 (profile)

John Perry Pardee (April 19, 1936 – April 1, 2013) was an American football linebacker and the only head coach to helm a team in college football, the National Football League (NFL), the United States Football League (USFL), the World Football League (WFL), and the Canadian Football League (CFL). Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986.


Playing career

Pardee in 1959 Jack Pardee 1959.jpg
Pardee in 1959

As a teenager, Pardee moved to Christoval, Texas, where he excelled as a member of the six-man football team. [1] He was an All-America Fullback at Texas A&M University and a two-time All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams (1963) and the Washington Redskins (1971). He was one of the few six-man players to ever make it to the NFL, and his knowledge of that wide-open game would serve him well as a coach.

Pardee was one of the famed Junction Boys, the 1954 Texas A&M preseason camp held in Junction, Texas, by football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. He was part of the 35 left from the approximately 100 players who went to Junction. After completing college at Texas A&M, Pardee was selected with the 1st pick of the second round (14th overall) in the 1957 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams as a linebacker. Pardee played for the Rams from 1957 to 1970, sitting out the 1965 season to treat a malignant melanoma in his left arm. [2]

Pardee was traded from the Rams to the Redskins in a multi-player deal during the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft on January 28, 1971. [3] [4] He ending his playing career after two seasons with the Redskins at the end of the 1972 NFL season.

Coaching career


When the World Football League started in 1974, Pardee got his first head coaching job with the Washington Ambassadors. The team later relocated to Norfolk, Virginia as the Virginia Ambassadors before finally moving to their third and final home in Orlando as the Florida Blazers. The Blazers made it to the 1974 World Bowl and lost by one point to the Birmingham Americans. Pardee's regular-season coaching record in 1974 with the Blazers was 14–6, and 2–1 in the 1974 WFL Playoffs and World Bowl. This was all the more remarkable considering that the Blazers went unpaid for the last three months of the season. Some of the Blazers players relocated to San Antonio as the Wings for the 1975 season, and Pardee also moved on, signing on as head coach of the Chicago Bears for the 1975 season.

First stint as a Head Coach in the NFL

In 1975, Pardee was hired by the Chicago Bears as head coach. He spent the next three years there, leading Chicago to their first playoff berth in 14 years in 1977, before moving on to the Washington Redskins. In 1979, he led the Redskins to within one game of making the playoffs, but in the season's final week, they squandered a 13-point lead to the eventual NFC East champions Dallas Cowboys and missed the playoffs. He was fired after going 6-10 in 1980. In 1981, he was hired as assistant head coach in charge of defense for the San Diego Chargers.


In 1984, Pardee returned to his native Texas by becoming the head coach of the Houston Gamblers. The Gamblers played spring football in the United States Football League. The Gamblers had one of the most potent offenses in pro football, the run and shoot offense, with Jim Kelly as quarterback. The Gamblers merged with the New Jersey Generals in 1986, and Pardee was named head coach. With Kelly and Doug Flutie both vying for the role of starting quarterback, and Herschel Walker in the backfield, the Generals were poised to dominate the USFL, but the league folded prior to the 1986 season.


Pardee returned to Houston in 1987 as head coach at the University of Houston. During his three-year stint, the Cougars, using the same offense he coached in the USFL, produced the first-ever African American quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, Andre Ware. His team also became the first major college team in NCAA history to have over 1,000 total offensive yards in a single game, racking up 1,021 yards while beating SMU, 95–21. [5]

Not long after Pardee's arrival, however, Houston was slapped with crippling NCAA sanctions due to numerous major violations under his predecessor, Bill Yeoman. Among them, the Cougars were banned from bowl games in 1989 and 1990 and kicked off live television in 1989. As a result, most of the nation never got a chance to see the Cougars set numerous offensive records during the 1989 season.

Second stint as a Head Coach in the NFL

In 1990, Pardee packed up the run and shoot offense and moved across town, and back to the NFL, by joining the Houston Oilers. He spent five years coaching a team which made the playoffs each of his first four years there, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon. In 1991, the Oilers won their first division title since 1967 in the American Football League. It was during his time with the Oilers that Pardee fell victim to NFL notoriety during the 1992 season, when in that season's playoffs, the Oilers surrendered a 35-3 third quarter lead to the Buffalo Bills, losing in overtime to the eventual conference champions 41-38.

The Oilers won another division title in 1993 on the strength of winning their last 11 games. However, after losing in the second round of the playoffs, owner Bud Adams made good on a threat to hold a fire sale if they didn't make the Super Bowl. The highest-profile loss was Moon, who was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Without Moon, the Oilers were a rudderless team. Pardee was fired following a 1-9 start to the 1994 season, and was replaced by defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher.

CFL comes to America

He continued his coaching career in the Canadian Football League. In 1995, he was named head coach of the CFL Expansion Team, the Birmingham Barracudas. Canadian football is more wide-open than American football, with a field that has an additional 10 yards added to each endzone, as well as a 55 yardline and wider field. Birmingham owner Art Williams thought Pardee's roots in the six-man game made him a natural fit. The "Cudas" were part of a failed experiment to expand the CFL into the United States. With Matt Dunigan at quarterback, Birmingham made the playoffs, but lost in the first round. However, due to dreadful attendance late in the season and the league's refusal to approve the team's proposed relocation to Shreveport, Louisiana, for 1996, the 'Cudas were shuttered at the end of the season along with the CFL's other American teams.

Return to coaching

In December 2007, Pardee, then 71, was contacted by athletic director Dave Maggard about the vacant head coaching job at the University of Houston. Signaling interest, he made it as far as a finalist for the position, but the school moved forward with Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin. [6]

Personal life

Pardee was married for 50 years to Phyllis Lane Perryman and had five children and 12 grandchildren. Pardee's youngest son, Ted, is the color commentator for the Houston Cougars football radio broadcasts.

In November 2012, Pardee was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer and it was reported by his family that he only had six to nine more months to live, [7] The cancer spread to other organs and Pardee moved to a Denver hospice. [8]

Pardee died April 1, 2013. The family has established a memorial scholarship fund in Pardee's name at the University of Houston. He was survived by his wife Phyllis, five children, and 12 grandchildren. His grandson Payton Pardee is currently Tight Ends Coach at Texas A & M University-Commerce [9] after playing Wide Receiver at the University of Houston. Jack's youngest grandson, Luke Pardee is currently a Quarterback at Texas Christian University [10] , [11]

Head coaching record


TeamYearRegular SeasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
HOU 1984 1350.7221st in Central Div.01.000Lost to Arizona Wranglers in USFL Quarterfinals
HOU 1985 1080.5563rd in Western Conf.01.000Lost to Birmingham Stallions in USFL Quarterfinals


YearTeamOverallConferenceStandingBowl/playoffs Coaches#AP°
Houston Cougars (Southwest Conference)(1987–1989)
1987 Houston 4–6–12–4–17th
1988 Houston 9–35–22ndL Aloha 18
1989 Houston 9–25–22ndIneligibleIneligible14


TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
CHI 1975 4100.2863rd in NFC Central----
CHI 1976 770.5002nd in NFC Central----
CHI 1977 950.6432nd in NFC Central01.000Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Divisional Game
CHI Total20220.47601.000
WAS 1978 880.5003rd in NFC East----
WAS 1979 1060.6253rd in NFC East----
WAS 1980 6100.3753rd in NFC East----
WAS Total24240.50000.000
HOU 1990 970.5632nd in AFC Central01.000Lost to Cincinnati Bengals in AFC wild card game
HOU 1991 1150.6881st in AFC Central11.500Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Game
HOU 1992 1060.6252nd in AFC Central01.000Lost to Buffalo Bills in AFC Wild Card Game
HOU 1993 1240.7501st in AFC Central01.000Lost to Kansas City Chiefs in AFC Divisional Game
HOU 1994 190.1004th in AFC Central----
HOU Total43310.58114.200


TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
BIR 1995 1080.5563rd in South Division 01.000Lost in Semifinals

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  1. King, David (October 14, 2006). "The six-man world: As small-town Texas drifts away, one form of football stands firm". San Antonio Express-News . Archived from the original on November 17, 2006. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  2. Barron, David (April 1, 2013). "Ex-coach, NFL great Pardee diagnosed with terminal cancer". Houston Chronicle . Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  3. Wallace, William N. (January 29, 1971). "Patriots Choose Plunkett as No. 1 in College Draft, Spurning Trade Offers". The New York Times . Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  4. "1971 NFL Draft Pick Transactions". prosportstransactions.com. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  5. "FSD History Flashback: October 21, 1989". Bleacher Report. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  6. Mark Schlabach, Yellow Jackets, Wolverines, Midshipmen earn high marks, ESPN.com, December 17, 2007.
  7. "NFL legend Pardee ill with cancer". Sports Illustrated . November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  8. "Former Redskins coach, player Jack Pardee dead at 76". Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 19, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  9. https://lionathletics.com/sports/football/roster/coaches/payton-pardee/719.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. "Luke Pardee - Football".
  11. "Jack Pardee passes away | ProFootballTalk". Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. April 19, 1936. Retrieved April 2, 2013.