June 28 (UPI) — Former Washington Redskins coach Joe Bugel, who was the architect of the famed “Hogs” offensive line in the 1980s, has died, the team announced Sunday. He was 80.
No cause of death was given.
“I am absolutely devastated by the news of Joe’s passing,” Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “Joe was a larger than life figure and a true legend of his profession. 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. Tanya and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Brenda and the entire Bugel family during this time.”
Bugel spent 32 years in the NFL as a coach but was primarily known for his work with the Redskins. He was the offensive line coach in Washington from 1981-89 and also served as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
Bugel left the Redskins to take the head coaching job with the then-Phoenix Cardinals from 1990-93. But he returned to Washington in 2004 — when Joe Gibbs returned as head coach — and remained with the franchise until his retirement following the 2009 season.
Behind Bugel’s offensive lines, the Redskins reached three Super Bowls — winning two — in the 1980s. Four of Bugel’s offensive linemen were selected to the Pro Bowl a combined 10 times, and guard Russ Grimm was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Bugel began calling his offensive line unit the “Hogs” in 1982. During a training camp practice, he referred to the players as “Hogs” when directing them to the blocking sled and the name stuck.
After Bugel’s four-year stint as head coach of the Cardinals, he served as the Oakland Raiders’ assistant head coach/offense for two years before taking over as head coach for one season in 1997. He also spent four years as offensive line coach for the then-San Diego Chargers, leaving after the 2001 campaign.
“Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football,” Gibbs said. “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.”
Bugel, who was born March 10, 1940, in Pittsburgh, Pa., was a two-way football star at Munhall High School. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (Western Chapter) in 2005.
He and his wife, Brenda, have three daughters: Angie, Jennifer and the late Holly Bugel.