Floyd Reese, who served as the general manager of the Tennessee Titans franchise for 13 seasons around the turn of the century, died Saturday morning, the team announced. He was 73.
"This is a sad day for our Titans family," Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "I would like to send along my deepest condolences to Floyd's wife, Sally, to his children, grandchildren and extended family.
"Floyd spent over two decades with our franchise in a variety of roles -- position coach, assistant general manager and ultimately, general manager – and he excelled at all of them. As general manager, he built a team that saw sustained success and helped guide our franchise in the toughest of times and the highest moments. His keen eye for talent led him to some of the best players in our team's history, which led the team to some of our greatest accomplishments. We look forward to remembering and honoring his legacy this season as he is formally inducted into our Ring of Honor."
Reese joined the Titans organization in 1986, then the Houston Oilers, as a linebackers coach. An All-American at UCLA in the late 1960s, Reese began his assistant coaching career at UCLA in 1971. After a collegiate stop at Georgia Tech and stints in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings, he eventually made his way to the Oilers franchise, with whom he'd spend the next two decades.
Hired as Oilers assistant general manager in 1990, Reese replaced Mike Holovak as GM in 1994 and held the position, along with executive vice president, until his resignation in 2006.
Under Reese's reign, the Oilers moved from Houston to Tennessee and became the Titans. They also morphed into a perennial contender in the ultracompetitive AFC Central division.
Led by the likes of Steve McNair, Eddie George, Derrick Mason, Kevin Dyson and Jevon Kearse, all of whom Reese selected in five successive drafts, and head coach Jeff Fisher, who Reese hired in 1995, the Oilers/Titans went from a 2-14 outfit in 1994 to 13-3 AFC champs in 1999, one yard and change away from a Super Bowl title.
Reese left the organization in 2006 with a 106-102 regular season record and a 5-4 record in the postseason. His 111 total wins are the most of any Oilers/Titans general manager. The franchise made four postseason appearances (in five years), won two division titles, made two AFC Championship Games and reached one Super Bowl during his reign.
Reese concluded his NFL career as a senior football advisor for the New England Patriots from 2009 to 2012.
He was slated to be inducted into the Titans Ring of Honor, alongside Fisher and Bum Phillips, this season.
"The way Amy explained it, this is one of the highest, if not the highest honor, that we could bestow on somebody that's not in the NFL Hall of Fame," Reese said last month upon learning of his induction. "And so that kind of makes you realize that this is special. I know it is special too because there's been so much time and effort that we put in -- not just me, but Jeff, and everybody involved, I mean, for years and years and years. To have this come true for me is a special treat."