By Jack Ryan
College Football Hall of Fame coach Wayne Hardin, who became the winningest coach in Temple’s history, died yesterday after suffering a stroke Tuesday. He was 91.
Hardin was coach at Navy from 1959-64, where he twice led the Midshipmen to AP top-five finishes. Most famously, he was the coach of the 1963 team that featured Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Roger Staubach. That squad lost the de facto national title game to No. 1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
Hardin finished his Navy tenure with a 38-22-2 record.
After a brief stop in the Continental Football League, Hardin returned to the college game with Temple in 1970.
Hardin ended his 13-season tenure with an 80-50-3 record that included the first bowl win in program history in 1979.
Hardin finished his coaching career with a 118-74-5 record, and in 2013 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
“The Naval Academy is heartbroken over the loss of one of our icons,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk in a press release. “He was not only a great coach, but a special person that had the respect of everyone who played for him and knew him as a great leader. Coach Hardin set the bar in how we measure excellence at the Naval Academy. He has remained close to the Naval Academy and many of his former players through the course of his retirement. We have shared some special moments with him over the years when we have invited back some of his greatest Navy teams. He will truly be missed, but Wayne Hardin will never ever be forgotten by the Navy family.”
Said current Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Wayne Hardin’s family. Many generations have been blessed by his powerful influence both on the field and off.”