Long before Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin walked the Houston sidelines, Jack Pardee was the mastermind behind memorable Cougars’ offenses. (AP)
Former Texas A&M standout, enthusiastic NFL opponent-hitter and journeyman football coach Jack Pardee died Monday in Denver from gallbladder cancer, at the age of 76. If you’ve been reading us for any length of time you know how we love prolific offenses, so you can probably guess how we feel about Jack Pardee.
Much has been written and will be written about Pardee’s time with Bear Bryant, and his memorable offenses with the Houston Cougars, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the variety of football spectacles his teams produced as he rambled from league to league. From Jeff Pearlman at SI, in 2010:
With the Bears, he had no quarterback, no receivers, a so-so offensive line … and Walter Payton. “So we ran and ran and ran and ran,” he says. “When you have Walter Payton, it’s not a hard choice.” Less than a decade later, however, Pardee’s former Bear players were shocked to see their coach guiding the high-flying, run ‘n’ gun Gamblers, who lit up the USFL behind quarterback Jim Kelly and a gaggle of water bug wideouts. “It was very surprising,” says Bob Avellini, a former Bears quarterback. “I never thought Jack Pardee had that in him.”
He did because that’s what the personnel dictated. His teams at the University of Houston were equally dynamic and high-flying, mainly because the quarterback was an unparalleled gunner named Andre Ware. “Boy, that was fun,” Pardee says.
Boy, wasn’t it. Farewell, pointsplosion progenitor.