Former Washington Redskins offensive assistant Joe Bugel, the architect of the “Hogs,” the team’s renowned group of linemen, died Sunday. He was 80.
Bugel served 32 years as a coach in the NFL, including head coaching stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals. But he is best known for his time with Washington, where he was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for coach Joe Gibbs.
Bugel, who was with Washington from 1981 to 1989 and 2004 to 2009, won two Super Bowls and coached icons like Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Mark May, Jeff Bostic and George Starke.
No cause of death was given.
“Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football,” Gibbs said in a statement. “He came to work every day with such great excitement and his players had tremendous respect for him. The strength of our coaching staff on both sides of the ball was a key reason we had so much success. Bugel was such a big part of that and his impact was felt not only by those Redskins’ teams, but truly across the entire league.
“I will miss his friendship and I will always cherish our late-night arguments putting together the game plan each week. Pat and I will be praying for his wife Brenda, his girls, and their entire family.”
In addition to his offensive line duties, Bugel also was the team’s offensive coordinator throughout the ‘80s.
As a head coach, Bugel went 24-56. He spent four seasons with then-Phoenix Cardinals (1990-1993) and one year with the Oakland Raiders (1997).
In 2004, he rejoined the Redskins upon Gibbs’ return to the franchise. He stayed on even after Gibbs’ retirement in 2007, coaching two additional years with Jim Zorn.
Owner Dan Snyder said he is “absolutely devastated” over Bugel’s death.
“Joe was a larger than life figure and a true legend of his profession,” Snyder said in a statement. “He exemplified what it meant to be a Redskin with his character and ability to connect with his players along with a work ethic that was unmatched. We shared a special bond and he was a great friend. He was a man who not only gave me a better understanding of the game of football, but who also gave me perspective on what is truly important in life. I absolutely adored him and will miss him terribly.”
Born on March 10, 1940, Bugel grew up in Pittsburgh and started coaching in 1964, when he served as a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky.
Bugel is survived by his wife, Brenda, and his daughters Angie and Jennifer. His daughter, Holly Bugel, died from bone cancer in 2008.
• Matthew Paras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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