Former University of Houston football head coach and College Football Hall of Fame member Jack Pardee passed away Monday afternoon following a battle with gall bladder cancer.
He was 76-years-old.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced at a later time.
In his memory, the Pardee Family has established the Jack Pardee Memorial Scholarship Fund with the University of Houston Athletics Department. The annual scholarship will be presented to a walk-on from the Houston Football program.
“When my father was diagnosed back around Thanksgiving, we were able to have many great conversations about the past and the future. One conversation was around what his lasting legacy would be. He truly loved the time spent at the University of Houston and wanted to find a way to help a deserving, hardworking, dedicated athlete who might not have the means to pay for their own college tuition,” said Pardee’s youngest son, Ted. “He could have offered his name to a lot of different charities or scholarship funds, but this was what my dad wanted to do. I hope you will join our family in support of this worthy fund.”
An All-American linebacker for Texas A&M as part of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s legendary Junction Boys, Pardee quickly worked his way into the hearts of Houston Cougar fans as the program’s head coach from 1987 to 1989.
As the leader of the Cougars’ legendary “Run and Shoot” teams, Pardee electrified the college football world with teams that racked up plenty of points and yards against helpless defenses.
“Today, we mourn the passing of a great man who dedicated his life to the game of football and was a true gentleman in every sense of the word,” Houston Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades said. “It was not a coincidence that success followed Coach and his teams wherever he worked, and the University of Houston program was blessed to have him lead our football program during some of our most exciting times. I know I speak for all Houston fans and the entire department when I offer our sincere condolences to Phyllis, their children and grandchildren. He will truly be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him.”
“When you talk about the great offenses in the history of college football, Coach Pardee’s Run-and-Shoot teams from the late 1980s must be considered near the top of that list,” Houston Football head coach Tony Levine said. “We continue to feel the impact from his innovative ideas and leadership of those teams in college football today, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all his family and friends.
After enduring a tough first season, Pardee led the Cougars to a 9-3 overall record, a berth in the 1988 Eagle Aloha Bowl and a No. 18 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
In 1989, the Cougars assembled one of the greatest campaigns in college football history. Houston led the nation with 624.9 yards of total offense and 511 passing yards per game with a 9-2 record and final No. 14 national ranking. Individually, quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the only Cougar to receive college football’s highest award.
That season, the Cougars scored at least 40 points in eight games and at least 60 points in five games. With a 95-21 win against SMU inside the Houston Astrodome on Oct. 21, 1989, the Cougars became the firstteam in NCAA history to accumulate more than 1,000 yards of total offense in a single game.
Houston was one of several stops for Pardee during hiscoaching career. He entered the coaching ranks with the Florida Blazers of the World Football League and moved to the NFL’s Chicago Bears as their head coach from 1975 to 1977.
Pardee spent three seasons as the head coach with the Washington Redskins and served during the 1981 season as the defensive coordinator with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers.
Following his stint with the Cougars, Pardee reentered the NFL but did not have to leave the city. As the head coach of the Houston Oilers, he guided the team to the NFL Playoffs during each of his first four seasons. He finished his coaching career with the Canadian Football League’s Birmingham Barracudas in 1995.
Pardee finished his professional career with a career head coaching mark of 87-77 in the NFL.
Although he earned tremendous acclaim for his coachingrecord, Pardee was just as successful as a player. He played six-man football at Christoval High in west-central Texas before attending Texas A&M. There, he was an All-America linebacker.
As a member of the Junction Boys, Pardee was one of only 35 players to return to College Station, Texas, at the end of Bryant’s 10-day training camp
Taken with the 14th-overall pick of the 1956 NFL Draft, Pardee competed for the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, earning All-Pro honors in 1963 and 1971. However, he was forced to sit out the 1965season due to a battle with melanoma.
For his impressive accomplishments on the field and on the sidelines, Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Pardee was married for more than 50 years for the former Phyllis Lane Perryman. The couple had five children and 12 grandchildren. Their youngest son, Ted, serves as the radio analyst for Houston Football games, while their granddaughter Ellie is a student in the Athletics Communications Office.