Former Patriots coach Dick MacPherson dies at 86

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Dick MacPherson, who capped a long coaching career with a two-year stint leading the Patriots, has died at the age of 86.

MacPherson was born and raised in New England, played his college football at Springfield College in Massachusetts, and got his first head-coaching job at UMass. So when the Patriots offered him their head-coaching job in 1991, he felt like he couldn’t say no.

But while MacPherson did a solid job in his first season, taking over a team that had gone 1-15 the year before and finishing 6-10, he always seemed more like a college coach. In MacPherson’s second season the Patriots struggled to a 2-14 finish amid talk that players were tuning him out, and MacPherson was fired and replaced with Bill Parcells.

MacPherson’s greatest coaching job came in 1987, when he took a previously moribund Syracuse team to an 11-0 regular season, and a tie with Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Syracuse, which hadn’t been ranked in 20 years, finished that season No. 4 in the country, and MacPherson won every major coach of the year honor.

That great season was followed by three consecutive bowl victories, and after that the Patriots came calling. Although MacPherson’s coaching career ended with disappointment in New England, his success at the college level earned him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

39 responses to “Former Patriots coach Dick MacPherson dies at 86

  1. good guy

    always felt bad for the mess he was thrown into during the
    hot potato ownership mess at that time

    success of any company always starts at the top

  2. The johnny come lately Patriot bandwagon fans that populate this site should really buy a book on Patriots history and read it. This organization has a colorful, entertaining and often hilarious history. Anyone remember when the Pats were short anfew guys and they paged the Harvard Stadium crowd looking for bob gladieux ? They found him alright even though he had been tailgating for hours. How bout when matt millen whacked pat sullivan with his helmet ? The stories go on and on and are definitely worth reading

  3. The Truth says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    The johnny come lately Patriot bandwagon fans that populate this site should really buy a book on Patriots history and read it. This organization has a colorful, entertaining and often hilarious history. Anyone remember when the Pats were short anfew guys and they paged the Harvard Stadium crowd looking for bob gladieux ? They found him alright even though he had been tailgating for hours. How bout when matt millen whacked pat sullivan with his helmet ? The stories go on and on and are definitely worth reading

    Can we stop with the lame “bandwagon fans”
    I was 12 when they won there first SB in 01. There is an entire generation of people in there late 20’s or 30’s this is all they know.

  4. The Truth says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    The johnny come lately Patriot bandwagon fans that populate this site should really buy a book on Patriots history and read it. This organization has a colorful, entertaining and often hilarious history. Anyone remember when the Pats were short anfew guys and they paged the Harvard Stadium crowd looking for bob gladieux ? They found him alright even though he had been tailgating for hours. How bout when matt millen whacked pat sullivan with his helmet ? The stories go on and on and are definitely worth reading

    7 4 Rate This

    ——

    if any fanbase avoids bandwagoners, it is boston based sports teams

    the tradition of being involved with sports in tbe community, the longstanding relationships that grandparents, parents, young adults, children and friends all share supporting theri teams, is unparalleled anywhere in the country

    season tickets to the pats since ’78 in mine

  5. Still never understood why he took the NE job. What a mess that organization was back then.

    Remember Parcells saying he knew they were making progress when the guys they cut starting getting picked up by other teams. Prior to that if you got cut by the Patsies you career was over.

    Enjoyed MacPherson’s enthusiasm. He fell on the sword for that organization.

  6. Can we stop with the lame “bandwagon fans”
    I was 12 when they won there first SB in 01. There is an entire generation of people in there late 20’s or 30’s this is all they know.

    4 1 Rate This

    —–

    exactly..as much as i gjve
    millennials a hard time, it is what it is..not your fault you have seen
    all this success

    everyone else is simply jealous

  7. Can we stop with the lame “bandwagon fans”
    I was 12 when they won there first SB in 01. There is an entire generation of people in there late 20’s or 30’s this is all they know.

    ——————————

    Sounds like you hopped on the bandwagon at exactly the same time everyone else did.

  8. Terrific man. I wish he had never taken the Patriots job, which was a no-win situation in the middle of the dark ages in Foxboro.

  9. 315judman says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Sounds like you hopped on the bandwagon at exactly the same time everyone else did.
    _______________________

    LMAO, How bad must it suck to be a Pat’s hater when that’s all they’ve got left?

    RIP Coach Mac, one of the good guys.

  10. I remember him more from his Syracuse days than from his short time in New England. He certainly helped make Don McPherson (Syracuse QB) a national sensation in ’87.

    He definitely stepped into a nearly impossible situation with the Patriots. Their owner at that time (Victor Kiam) was was in over his head, and had no football sense. MacPherson deserved better than that.

  11. Flash1287 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:15 pm
    The Truth says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    The johnny come lately Patriot bandwagon fans that populate this site should really buy a book on Patriots history and read it. This organization has a colorful, entertaining and often hilarious history. Anyone remember when the Pats were short anfew guys and they paged the Harvard Stadium crowd looking for bob gladieux ? They found him alright even though he had been tailgating for hours. How bout when matt millen whacked pat sullivan with his helmet ? The stories go on and on and are definitely worth reading

    Can we stop with the lame “bandwagon fans”
    I was 12 when they won there first SB in 01. There is an entire generation of people in there late 20’s or 30’s this is all they know.

    ——–

    and I was 14 when they went to their first Super Bowl over 30 years ago. Some jealous fans here want to make it seem like the Pats were some kind of pathetic sideshow before Brady & Belichick rolled into town. Sure, they had their ups and downs like any other organization, but this narrative that they had no success and no fans before 2001 is completely false.

  12. everyone else is simply jealous
    =====

    I have nothing but respect for what Belichick has built.

    Haven’t seen anything like it since Walshs’ 9ers.

    But I do hate Patriot fans. Nothing but a bunch of punks.

  13. Why is 86 such a popular age to die? Seems like everyone’s doing it. Well, not everyone, but every time I hear someone died, it’s 86. Far more than 87 or 85.

  14. tylawspick6 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm
    The Truth says:
    August 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    The johnny come lately Patriot bandwagon fans that populate this site should really buy a book on Patriots history and read it. This organization has a colorful, entertaining and often hilarious history. Anyone remember when the Pats were short anfew guys and they paged the Harvard Stadium crowd looking for bob gladieux ? They found him alright even though he had been tailgating for hours. How bout when matt millen whacked pat sullivan with his helmet ? The stories go on and on and are definitely worth reading

    7 4 Rate This

    ——

    if any fanbase avoids bandwagoners, it is boston based sports teams

    the tradition of being involved with sports in tbe community, the longstanding relationships that grandparents, parents, young adults, children and friends all share supporting theri teams, is unparalleled anywhere in the country

    season tickets to the pats since ’78 in mine
    —————-
    “Unparalleled”? Hardly …

    The Broncos have sold out 385 CONSECUTIVE home games dating back to 1971. The current season ticket waiting list is over 75,000. My family has had season tickets since 1968.

  15. MacPherson comes from a time when I liked the Patriots, before they became the best franchise in football. 5 rings and counting. Boy do i long for the days of Steve Grogan under throwing Hart Lee Dykes on a fly pattern. Rest in Peace Coach.

  16. That ’87 Syracuse team was great. In the sugar bowl that year, Syracuse had a 3 point lead with seconds left and auburn coach pat dye decided to kick a chip shot field goal and the tie instead of a TD (No OT in college back then.) It cost Syracuse a perfect season and probably a share of the national championship. throughout central New York he is still referred to as Pat “Tie” Dye.

  17. cboys4life2014 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm
    Patriots fans weren’t aware New England had a team before the Brady/Belichik era

    Funny how they have sold out every game since 1994

  18. Rest in peace, Coach. I remember those Pats teams and I remember the Pats teams in the old AFL, too.
    Every team has down years and sometimes they last for a long time. It’s hard to take over a team that only won 1 game and turn it into a winner. Especially when you’re a former college coach.

  19. firstand4ever says:
    August 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm
    MacPherson comes from a time when I liked the Patriots, before they became the best franchise in football. 5 rings and counting. Boy do i long for the days of Steve Grogan under throwing Hart Lee Dykes on a fly pattern. Rest in Peace Coach.

    Umm…not quite the best yet. In Super Bowls, the Pats are 1 behind the Steelers and are tied with 3 other teams. In NFL championships, well, let’s just say they have a long way to go.

  20. season tickets to the pats since ’78 in mine
    —————-
    “Unparalleled”? Hardly …

    The Broncos have sold out 385 CONSECUTIVE home games dating back to 1971. The current season ticket waiting list is over 75,000. My family has had season tickets since 1968.

    2 2 Rate This

    —-

    did you just compare the denver sports market to boston?

    lol

    i am talking about the boston sports fan not about how long foxborough
    has been sood out

    tell us, why did bowlen cheat the cap of they had such great financial support for so long?

    hmmm?

  21. “Patriots fans weren’t aware New England had a team before the Brady/Belichik era”

    You only make yourself sound foolish since the Pats have sold out every game since 1993. And were in the Super Bowl in 85 which even though they lost the team had a lot of fans then too.

    But hey, its easier to make the weakest lowest hanging fruit of a comment than actually bother with facts.

  22. Flash1287 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 8:20 pm
    cboys4life2014 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm
    Patriots fans weren’t aware New England had a team before the Brady/Belichik era

    Funny how they have sold out every game since 1994
    ——————
    Patriots 1994
    Broncos 1971

  23. And actually tylawspick6 doesn’t cheating the cap mean spending more than the cap allowed for? Kinda throws an underinflated football in your “financial support” heckling

  24. Looks like some Broncos fans have come unhinged. Not to worry. The Broncos are currently and historically ONE of the better franchises.

    Bandwagoners as a term suggests some might have switched allegiances to bask in the reflected glory of a winner. But it’s really just a function of WHEN you were born and came of age. I was badgered by my family at age 11 to root for the Giants but they would have allowed me to choose the Jets. So I chose the Patriots. I fell in love with the nuckname, uniforms, and logo, which to me epitomized the spirit and iconography of defiance. And I loved the players. Grogan, Julius Adams, and Andre Tippett most of all. That first year they went 2-14. But I was amply rewarded by that 1985 season. No one in my high school even knew the team existed, but I wore Patriots sweatshirts or my red hoodie almost every day. That was the first team to win 3 straight playoff games on the road, each game beating a team that defeated them during the,regular season. And while it all blew up in the SB, I’ll never forget that hit on Payton by Adams and that hit on McMahon by Lippett in what was a promising start against the all-tome great Bears.

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