Jack Pardee, ex-Houston Oilers head coach, dies after battle with cancer

April 1, 2013 7:36:43 PM PDT
Former Houston Oilers and University of Houston coach Jack Pardee -- a fixture for the Houston Oilers during the team's run-and-shoot days -- has died after a long battle with cancer.

His style of football left an impact not only on the Oilers and the Cougars, but on the game itself.

I recently spoke with Pardee's friends and former teammates at Texas A&M University. They marveled that someone so talented could be so giving and down to earth. Pardee carried those values through a 15-year career as an All Pro NFL linebacker before turning to coaching.

After stints with the Bears and Redskins, he guided great teams at UH with Heisman winner Andre Ware; and later, Pardee rose from small-town six-man football to the highest honors in the game he loved. As the head coach of the Oilers, Pardee led the team for five seasons in the 1990s, averaging 11 wins a year from '91 to '93.

His friends rallied to his side when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, gathering at his ranch even as he sold off his cattle and equipment so he could pack up and join his wife at hospice in Colorado.

Pardee was 76 years old. He has asked his family to support a scholarship at UH that bears his name.