Jack Pardee, the only head coach to helm a team in college football, the National Football League, the United States Football League, the World Football League, and the Canadian Football League, died of cancer at age 76, his family announced Monday.
Pardee was diagnosed with gall bladder cancer in November and was given six to nine months to live at the time. As a result, he had moved to a hospice facility in a Denver suburb to be near two of his daughters.
An All-American linebacker at Texas A&M University, Pardee was selected with the 14th overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1957 NFL draft.
He suited up for the Rams from 1957-64, sat out a year to deal with melanoma, and played seven more seasons before finishing his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1973.
Following his playing career, Pardee got his first head coaching job with the Washington Ambassadors during the inaugural season of the World Football League in 1974.
The following year, Jack was hired by the Chicago Bears. He would spend the next three years in Chicago, guiding the team to its first playoff appearance since the early 1960s. After the Bears, Pardee moved to the Redskins and was fired after Washington went 6-10.
“In his time both on the field and on the sideline, Jack Pardee will forever be a part of the Washington Redskins’ legacy,” owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement. “He will be remembered not just as a linebacker for the 1972 NFC Champions, nor as just the coach for our franchise. He will be remembered as someone whose spirit truly embodied the values that we associate with the burgundy and gold.”
After being fired from the Redskins, Pardee went on to coach in the United States Football League, and the NCAA before returning to the NFL in 1990.
After four seasons with the Houston Oilers, Jack finished his coaching career with the Canadian Football League’s Birmingham Barracudas in 1995.
The family has established a memorial scholarship fund in Pardee’s name at the University of Houston, where he coached from 1987-89.
Image: Texas A&M Athletics