Former Bucs coach Sam Wyche passes away at 74

A member of the Buccaneers coaching fraternity Sam Wyche passed away Thursday at the age of 74.

Wyche, the fifth coach in Buccaneers history coached the Bucs from 1992-95 compiling a 23-41 record,

Wyche was a member of the Bill Walsh coaching tree and got his NFL coaching career started with the San Francisco 49ers as the passing coordinator in 1979 and coached the 49ers until 1982.

Walsh then left to be the head coach of the Indian Hoosiers for the 1983 season before being hired by Paul Brown to coach the Cincinnati Bengals in 1984.

Wyche coached the Bengals to their only Super Bowl appearance in 1984 a game they lost to the San Francisco 49ers 26-20 on a Joe Montana touchdown pass with 26 seconds to go in the game.

Wyche was fired by the Bengals December 24, 1991 and was promptly hired by Hugh Culverhouse to coach the Buccaneers on January 10, 1992.

The Bucs were one of the worst teams in the NFL when he was hired to take over the team in 1992, and were still one of the worst teams in the NFL when he was fired in 1995.

Wyche saw the end of the Vinny Testaverde era at quarterback in 1992, and ushered in the Trent Dilfer era in 1993 although Dilfer would not become a full time starter until 1995.

As a head coach, Wyche’s offensive philosophy centered around uptempo play and was known for his outside the box thinking at times when calling plays.

Wyche had two consecutive seasons of 5-11, followed by a 6-10 season. In 1995 Wyche started 5-2, but the Bucs collapsed at the halfway point of the season and went 2-7 the rest of the way to finish 7-9.

While Wyche was in Tampa, the Bucs drafted Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch. Sapp and Brooks would go on to become members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and all three would become cornerstones of one of the best defenses in NFL history on a Bucs team that ultimately won the Super Bowl following the 2002 season.

A funny story about Wyche and his time in Tampa as a head coach during the 1995 season from Profootballtalk at

When it was obvious the Bucs, under new ownership, would hire a new coach, Wyche pulled a prank on his team. Jimmy Johnson, who had parted ways with the Cowboys after the 1993 season, showed up in Tampa for an NFL Films promo orchestrated by Wyche.

Unbeknownst to the players, personnel assistant John Idzik entered the locker room, interrupted Wyche and told the coach to bring his playbook. Johnson walked in wearing a Buccaneers jacket and began addressing the players as if he was their new coach.

The Buccaneers and the Glazer Family released this statement about the passing of Sam Wyche. “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Sam Wyche earlier today. Sam’s innovative approach to offense left a lasting mark on the game of football. As our head coach in the early 1990s, Sam was instrumental in drafting cornerstone players such as John Lynch, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, who were all key foundational parts of our eventual Super Bowl championship. The Buccaneers organization sends its heartfelt condolences to his wife, Jane, and the entire Wyche family,”

Wyche passed from complications from cancer and leaves behind wife Jane, children Zack and Kerry, and six grandchildren.

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