Former Washington Redskins assistant coach Joe Bugel, who coached in the NFL for 32 years, died on Sunday at the age of 80. The team confirmed the news with statements from owner Dan Snyder and former head coach Joe Gibbs. The team did not disclose the cause of death on Sunday.
"I am absolutely devastated by the news of Joe's passing," said Snyder. "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 originally joined Washington as the offensive coordinator in 1981 and was promoted to assistant head coach in 1983. It was during this time that Bugel began to develop "The Hogs," his offensive line that led a powerful offense. This group paved the way for four 1,000-yard running backs, nine 1,000-yard wide receivers and one 4,000-yard passer. Washington also appeared in three Super Bowls, winning two.
Following his first stint with the Redskins, the Phoenix Cardinals hired Bugel as the head coach in 1990. He spent four seasons with the team, accumulating a 20-44 record. He later joined the Oakland Raiders as assistant head coach in 1995. He served in the position for two seasons before becoming the head coach in 1997. Following a 4-12 season, Bugel headed to San Diego to coach the Chargers' offensive line. He remained in this position from 1998 until 2001.
Bugel took a two-year break from coaching following his stint in Southern California. He returned to the Washington Redskins in 2004 as an assistant head coach under Joe Gibbs. His primary job was working with the offensive line. This second tenure with the Redskins featured another five straight seasons with 1,000-yard rushers. Clinton Portis accounted for four of these performances, including a 1,487-yard season in 2008. Bugel ultimately retired from the NFL following the 2009 season.
"The Raiders Family is saddened to learn today of the passing of Joe Bugel," said the Las Vegas Raiders in a statement. "An accomplished assistant coach and the head coach of the Raiders in 1997, Bugel is regarded as one of the top offensive line coaches in NFL history. The thoughts and prayers of the Raider Nation are with Joe's family at this time."