Joe Bugel Passes Away at 80

Chris Russell

Sad news on this Sunday in late June. 

Joe Bugel was the Redskins offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 1981-82 and became the assistant head coach in 1983, a role he would hold until 1989. 

In a team statement - Redskins Owner Dan Snyder said "I am absolutely devastated by the news of Joe’s passing. 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. He was a man who not only gave me a better understanding of the game of football, but who also gave me perspective on what is truly important in life. I absolutely adored him and will miss him terribly. Tanya and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Brenda and the entire Bugel family during this time."

Pro Football  Hall of Fame coach and Redskins legend Joe Gibbs also shared his thoughts via a Redskins statement. 

“Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football. 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 left the Redskins after his first stint to become the head coach of the then Phoenix (now Arizona) Cardinals. 

Bugel returned for a second run with the team as assistant head coach-offense from 2004-09 under Joe Gibbs (2004-07) and Jim Zorn (2008-09).

I covered Bugel for his final year with the Redskins and heard some funny stories. Many I can't mention but some of them were hilarious. 

One was about Clinton Portis and his costumes and one was about Twitter and a very unmentionable word that Bugel mentioned during one gathering. You'll have to use your imagination. 

Rest in Peace, Buges! 

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Chris Russell is the Publisher of & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.

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