Joe Bugel, who for many years was widely regarded as the best offensive line coach in the NFL, has died at the age of 80.
When Joe Gibbs became Washington’s head coach in 1981, he brought Bugel with him as offensive line coach, and also gave Bugel the titles of offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Bugel promptly built up the offensive line, whom he collectively referred to as “The Hogs” into a force to be reckoned with in the NFL, and Bugel (sometimes known as “Boss Hog”) won two Super Bowl rings.
His stellar work in Washington got Bugel the head-coaching job with the Phoenix Cardinals, where he was less successful: Although he arrived with great fanfare and a promise to coach the same kind of tough, physical football players his Hogs were, it never worked in Phoenix, as the Cardinals finished below .500 in all four of his seasons.
Bugel later got another head-coaching job, with the Oakland Raiders in 1997, but that didn’t go well either: The Raiders went 4-12 and Bugel was fired after one year.
When Gibbs returned to be Washington’s head coach again in 2004, he again hired Bugel, who stayed in Washington until he retired from coaching after the 2009 season.
Bugel also spent time as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky, Navy, Iowa State and Ohio State, as well as with the Lions, Houston Oilers and San Diego Chargers.