'Hogs' architect Joe Bugel passes away at 80

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When the "Hogs" were at the forefront of success for the Washington Redskins in the 1980s, it was assistant coach Joe Bugel who was the architect.

Bugel became the head coach for the Phoenix Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, but it was his time during the 80s with the Redskins that he was remembered most.

An NFL coaching veteran of 32 autumns, Bugel passed away Sunday at the age of 80, the Redskins announced.

"Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football," former Redskins head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs said in a statement to the team website. "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 had a pair of stints as an NFL head coach, piloting the Phoenix Cardinals from 1990-1993 with a 20-44 record and the Oakland Raiders in 1997, leaving with a 4-12 mark.

It was, as aforementioned, with the Redskins that he was most highly regarded, however.

"I am absolutely devastated by the news of Joe's passing," Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said, in part, 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."

Bugel coached for seven franchises, but it was with the Redskins that he coached longest and last.

Following two seasons as the offensive line coach with the Detroit Lions beginning in 1975, Bugel moved on to a four-year stint as the Houston Oilers' O-line coach.

Then he made his way to Washington. From 1981-82, Bugel was the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. Starting in 1983 and going through 1989, Bugel added assistant head coach to his many titles under the great Gibbs.

With Bugel as a top assistant, the Redskins tallied seven winning seasons, five division titles, six playoff berths, three Super Bowl trips and two Lombardi trophies.

Up front were the "Hogs," the nickname bestowed upon a phenomenal offensive line that featured memorable talents such as George Starke, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Mark May and Jeff Bostic, the latter four combining for 10 Pro Bowl selections.

Known most for his construction of the memorable and magnificent offensive line, Bugel was also crucial in the Redskins high-octane offense, which produced four 1,000-yard rushers, nine 1,000-yard receivers and one 4,000-yard passer during his time there.

Bugel moved on for four seasons to be the head coach of the Cardinals.

"Joe Bugel impacted so many people in his 80 years of life and nearly 50 coaching football," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to every one of them but especially to his wife Brenda and the entire Bugel family. His accomplishments as one of our sport's truly legendary coaches speak for themselves. But the first thing I think of is how he lived his life and the kind of quality human being Joe Bugel was. We join all of those who today celebrate his remarkable life & mourn his passing." 

From there, Bugel went to the Raiders for three seasons -- the first two as an offensive coordinator and the last as head coach.

He stayed in the AFC West for the next four years, coaching the Chargers offensive line.

Fittingly, he finished his career back with the Redskins, wrapping up his coaching days after a six-year second stint in D.C. in 2009 under coach Jim Zorn.

A Pittsburgh native, Bugel is survived by his wife, Brenda, and daughters: Angie and Jennifer. His daughter, Holly Bugel passed away in 2008.

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