In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the sports world lost two legendary coaches. In addition to the passing of longtime Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit at the age of 64, the one and only Buddy Ryan also passed away.
Ryan, 82, was revered as a defensive innovator over a coaching career that spanned four decades. After working as a defensive line coach in Buffalo during the early years of his career, he went on to serve as defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and Houston Oilers, and also worked as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.
Ryan led the defense of the 1985-86 Bears, strongly considered one of the best defensive units in league history. They helped bring home one of Ryan’s two Super Bowl rings, beating the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX. In that game, the Bears set or tied Super Bowl records for sacks (seven), fewest rushing yards allowed (seven), and largest margin of victory (36).
Buddy was also father to two of the NFL’s biggest current names in coaching — Rex and Rob Ryan. The eldest Ryan’s strong and bold personality clearly rubbed off on his sons, who are by far the most entertaining coaches in the league.
Following the news of his passing, many from around football (and sports, in general) took to social media to remember the unstoppable force that was Buddy Ryan.