(WTXF/AP) - Former Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan has died. Ryan was head coach of the Eagles from 1986 to 1991.
He coached in the NFL for 35 seasons, including five as the Eagles' head coach.
More sad news in sports. Former HC Buddy Ryan has passed away. He has been sick but always sad when a man we all know leaves us. #Eagles— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) June 28, 2016
The team put out a statement, saying it's saddened to learn of his death.
“Buddy Ryan was arguably one of the greatest defensive masterminds in NFL history and forever left his mark on the Eagles organization and the city of Philadelphia,” said Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. “Over the last 20-plus years, I had the pleasure of discussing football with Buddy and I always came away from those conversations intrigued by his knowledge and passion for the game. On behalf of myself and the entire Eagles family, I’d like to offer our deepest condolences to the Ryan family.”
The team reports Ryan was named the 17th head coach in Eagles history, he compiled a 43-38-1 overall record and led Philadelphia to three consecutive postseason appearances, including an NFC East title in 1988.
“Buddy Ryan was one of the most creative and innovative defensive minds in the game of football,” said Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson. “It was easy to sense his passion for the game and how much his players loved playing for him. His defensive philosophy remains a big part of the game today. He is a legend in our sport. My thoughts and prayers go out to Rex, Rob, Jim and the entire Ryan family.”
He’d been defensive coordinator for other teams, having stints with the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals.
Ryan may have been best known nationally as the brash and plain-spoken architect of the '85 Chicago Bears defense that won Super Bowl XX.
FOX Sports quotes legendary head coach Mike Ditka on ESPN radio, Tuesday morning, crediting Ryan’s defensive scheme as the key component that helped Chicago beat New England, 46-10.
“The ’85 Bears wouldn’t have been the ’85 Bears without Buddy Ryan,” Ditka said. “The players absolutely loved him.”
According to the NFL, “Ryan’s innovation as a blitz-crazed defensive line coach for the New York Jets lifted the team to its only Super Bowl victory in franchise history back in 1969 on the heels of such gems as the ‘Cheeseburger Blitz’ and ‘Taco Bell Blitz.’”
James David Ryan was a Korean War veteran who went to Oklahoma State, then got a master's degree from Middle Tennessee State even while coaching. He got his first major job in the pros in New York, then of the AFL, in 1968. Ryan was the linebackers coach for the Joe-Namath led Jets, a boastful, confident team that fit his personality.