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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

John McKay Dead at 77

The first head coach in Buccaneers history leaves behind a loving family, a football legacy and a reputation of unsurpassed wit


John McKay spent over 25 years as a head coach on the college and professional levels

John Harvey McKay, head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976-84 and father of current Buccaneers General Manager Rich McKay, died on Sunday, June 10, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. The cause of death was kidney failure due to complications from diabetes.

Born on July 5, 1923, McKay was 77 years old. He is survived by his wife, Corky (the former Nancy Jean Hunter, with whom he celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary almost exactly one year ago. McKay is also survived by his four children, sons Rich and John and daughters Michele and Terri, and 10 grandchildren.

A private (family only) memorial service will be held at St. Lawrence Church in Tampa, Florida. Mrs. McKay is presently undergoing medical treatment, and therefore, a visitation with the family will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Coach McKay's honor to:

USC Athletic Department/John McKay Fund c/o Don Winston, Senior Associate AD Heritage Hall - 203A Los Angeles, CA 90089-0602

McKay spent more than 25 years overall as a head coach on the collegiate and professional level. The legendary coach compiled an overall head coaching record of 171-128-9 (.572). In 25 seasons as a head coach, McKay's teams won a college conference or professional division championship 11 times and advanced to postseason play on 12 occasions.

McKay was named the first head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history on October 31, 1975. He coached the Buccaneers for nine seasons (1976-84) and compiled a 44-88-1 record. McKay led Tampa Bay to the postseason three times. In just the franchise's fourth season (1979), he led Tampa Bay to an NFC Central Division championship, a playoff win over Philadelphia and the club's first appearance in the NFC Championship Game. McKay also coached the lone Hall of Famer in Buccaneer history, DE Lee Roy Selmon, the team's first overall draft pick in 1976.

He also guided the Buccaneers to consecutive playoff appearances in 1981 and 1982. McKay then led Tampa Bay to its second NFC Central Division championship in 1981. He was a part of the franchise's inaugural win, a 33-14 win over the New Orleans Saints on December 11, 1977. He later served as Team President during the 1985 season.

Prior to joining Tampa Bay, McKay coached at the University of Southern California for 16 seasons from 1960-75. He led the Trojans to four national championships and a 127-40-8 record (.760) at USC. McKay coached 40 first-team All-Americans during his 16 years.

In only his third season as head coach at USC in 1962, McKay guided the Trojans to his first national crown. He followed by capturing national championships in the 1967, 1972 and 1974 seasons. His four national titles ranks tied with Notre Dame's Frank Leahy for second all-time, trailing only Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant's six championships. In addition, his resume at USC includes three undefeated seasons, nine conference championships, eight Rose Bowl appearances (including five victories), 14 consecutive winning campaigns and two National Coach of the Year honors (1962 and 1972). He also tutored two Heisman Trophy winners in Mike Garrett (1965) and O.J. Simpson (1968). McKay produced outstanding players at nearly every position at USC, including RB Ricky Bell, FB Sam Cunningham, QB Pat Haden, WR Lynn Swann, LB Richard Wood, OT Ron Yary and TE Charles Young. During his last four seasons at USC (1972-75), he also served as the school's athletic director.

McKay served as an assistant coach at USC in 1959 before being named the Trojans head coach in 1960. He was also an assistant coach at Oregon from 1950-1959.

McKay played one season as a defensive back at Purdue (1946) before transferring to Oregon, where he lettered the following three seasons. He still holds the Ducks record for yards per carry (6.4 avg.). McKay led the Ducks in scoring in 1948 while earning All-American honorable mention and All-Coast first-team honors. Prior to attending college, he served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

McKay was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1991. He was also a member of the 1994 inaugural class of USC's Athletic Hall of Fame.

McKay was born in Everettsville, West Virginia. He attended Shinnston High School (WV), where he was an all-state running back and a star guard in basketball.

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