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John McKay | Ring of Honor | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ring of Honor

John McKay

John McKay

John McKay, known for his unprecedented success on the football field and his wit off of it, died on Sunday, June 10, 2001, at the age of 77, from kidney failure due to complications from diabetes. With his passing, the Buccaneers family lost the man who led the franchise from its very beginning.

On December 5, 2010 during halftime of the Buccaneers' game against the Atlanta Falcons, McKay became the second inductee into the team's Ring of Honor. 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 Buccaneers history on October 31, 1975. He coached the Buccaneers for nine seasons (1976- 84) and compiled a 44-88-1 record. 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 first Hall of Famer in Buccaneers history, DE Lee Roy Selmon, the team's first overall draft pick in 1976.

He 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 victory over New Orleans on December 11, 1977. He later served as Team President during the '85 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). 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). During his last four seasons at USC (1972-75), he also served as the school's athletic director. 

McKay served as an assistant 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 before transferring to Oregon, where he lettered for three seasons and earned 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. 

He and his wife, the late Corky (formerly Nancy Jean Hunter), had four children: John, Rich, Michele, and Terri. Rich now serves as President of the Atlanta Falcons after nine seasons (1995-03) as Tampa Bay's General Manager. John served as General Manager of the 2001 XFL Champion Los Angeles Xtreme and also played wide receiver for USC from 1972-74 and for Tampa Bay from 1976-78.