John McKay (American football): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John McKay
Sport Football
Born July 5, 1923(1923-07-05)
Place of birth Everettville, West Virginia, United States
Died June 10, 2001 (aged 77)
Place of death Tampa, Florida
Career highlights
Overall 127–40–8 (NCAA)
44–88 (NFL)
Bowls 6–3
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
4 National (1962, 1967, 1972, 1974)
9 AAWU/Pac-8 (1962, 1964, 1966–1969, 1972–1974)
Playing career
Position Back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Oregon (assistant)
USC (assistant)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
College Football Hall of Fame, 1988 (Bio)

John Harvey McKay (July 5, 1923 – June 10, 2001) was an American football coach. He was the head coach of the USC Trojans from 1960 to 1975, and of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 to 1984.




Early life

McKay was born in the now-defunct town of Everettsville in Monongalia County, West Virginia. He was the third of five children born to Scoth-Irish parents John and Gertrude McKay. John was the son of a coal mine superintendent who died when John was only 13 years old. He grew up in Shinnston, West Virginia, and after graduating from Shinnston High School in 1941, he was offered a football scholarship by Wake Forest. He was there enrolling when his mother became ill. He returned home and worked as a coal mine electrician's assistant for a year before he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force, in 1942. McKay served as a tail gunner aboard B-29's and saw action in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. After the war he entered college at the age of 23, and attended Purdue University but then transferred to University of Oregon in 1947. He played football at both schools. At Oregon, he was a running back behind quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. When Van Brocklin graduated, McKay took over running the offense and called the audibles from his two-point stance as a running back.

Coaching career


After college, rather than attempting to play in the NFL, he instead opted for a coaching career. McKay was an assistant coach at Oregon for eight years before moving to USC in 1959, and he became USC's head coach the following year.

In his first two seasons McKay's teams enjoyed little succes, going 4-6-0 in 1960, and 4-5-1 in 1961. The Trojans had been on probation and thus could not recruit very well. McKay stated that these two teams were the slowest he had ever been around and had very little team speed. Heading into the 1962 season Mckay felt he might be fired by University President Norm Topping. Alumni were pressuring Topping to fire McKay but Topping resisted. He decided to give McKay one more year so he could field a team with players he had recruited. Topping believed that McKay had recruited well and that the team would be succesful.[1] Topping proved to be correct. In 1962, McKay guided USC to an 11-0 record including a Rose Bowl victory over #2 ranked Wisconsin 42-37 and a National Championship. USC won four National Championships (1962, 1967, 1972 and 1974) during McKay's tenure as head coach. His 1972 squad is regarded as one of the best teams in NCAA history. That team went 12-0, defeated five teams ranked 18th or higher by an average of 22 points. They never trailed in the second half of any game and their closest game was a 9 point win over Stanford. Players from that team included Mike Rae, Pat Haden, Sam Cunningham, Anthony Davis, Lynn Swann, Charles Young, Gary Jeter , Richard Wood and Charles Phillips. Two of his players, Mike Garrett (1965) and O.J. Simpson (1968), won the Heisman Trophy. McKay popularized the I-formation, and emphasized a power running game with such plays as Student Body Left and Student Body Right.

McKay was Irish-American and Roman Catholic, and a Notre Dame fan while growing up. On November 26, 1966, he presided over a 51-0 USC loss to the Irish-the worst defeat in USC history. Reportedly, after the game McKay said that USC would never get beat by Notre Dame again. He denied saying it, however, and in an interview shortly before his death, he clarified that he actually said, "they'll never beat us 51-0 again." [2] After that loss, McKay was 6–1–2 vs. Notre Dame, losing only during the Irish' national championship season of 1973. Years later after his death his ashes were spread onto the Coliseum field.[3]


After turning down several offers from NFL teams, including the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, in 1976 McKay was lured to Tampa Bay to become the Buccaneers' first head coach.[4] Motivating his decision was the combined fivefold salary increase (totaling $2m per year) and the prospect of building a franchise from the ground up.[4] The Buccaneers lost all 14 games in 1976 and the first 12 games of 1977 before finally winning a game (against the New Orleans Saints). They would also win the last game of the 1977 season.

After winning five games in 1978, the Buccaneers would double that the following year, posting their first winning season. They clinched the 1979 NFC Central title in the final week by beating the Kansas City Chiefs 3–0 in a driving Tampa rainstorm. They then defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24–17 in a divisional playoff game to advance to the NFC Championship where, in a defensive battle, they lost to the Los Angeles Rams 9–0. The Buccaneers would make two more playoff appearances in 1981 and 1982.

After that season, McKay strongly supported star quarterback Doug Williams' bid for a better contract; at the time he was making less than 12 backups. However, owner Hugh Culverhouse made what both McKay and Williams felt was a lowball offer and wouldn't budge. Williams bolted to the USFL. Without Williams, McKay's offense appeared to be completely rudderless. The Buccaneers suffered through a two-win season in 1983, and although they rebounded to win six in 1984, it would be McKay's last as he would step down as head coach at the end of the year. In the end, despite the Bucs' brief success in the early 1980s, McKay forever regretted his decision to leave the Trojans. His son noted that he knew "within the first week he got to Tampa that he'd made a mistake."[4]


McKay became famous for many of his humorous answers during press conferences. Some examples were:

  • Following a 51-0 loss to Notre Dame in 1966. "I told my team it doesn't matter. There are 750 million people in China who don't even know this game was played."
  • Following a game in 1967 in which O.J. Simpson carried the ball over 30 times, Mckay was asked "Why are you giving the ball to Simpson so often?" McKay replied, "Why not? it's not heavy, and he doesn't belong to a union."
  • After a series of questionable calls helped Notre Dame tie top ranked USC 21-21 in 1968, McKay was asked about the officiating. He answered "I'm not surprised. The referee is a fine Catholic fellow by the name of Patrick Murphy."
  • After the Buccaneers' first unofficial game, he responded to a question, "Well, we didn't block, but we made up for it by not tackling."
  • Following yet another Tampa Bay Buccanneer loss in their early seasons, he was asked what he thought of his team's execution. He replied "I'm in favor of it."


John McKay was the father of former Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay, the current president of the Atlanta Falcons. Another son, J.K. McKay, played wide receiver under him twice: first for the Trojans from 1972–75 (including two championship teams) and then later in the NFL for the Buccaneers from 1976–1979.

McKay and his wife Corky had two daughters, Michele McKay Breese and Terri McKay Florio.


He died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Florida from complications due to diabetes on Sunday June 10, 2001.[5]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
USC Trojans (Pacific-8 Conference) (1960–1975)
1960 USC 4–6 3–1 2nd
1961 USC 4–5–1 2–1–1 T–2nd
1962 USC 11–0 4–0 1st W Rose 1 1
1963 USC 7–3 3–1 2nd 16
1964 USC 7–3 3–1 T–1st 10 10
1965 USC 7–2–1 4–1 2nd 9 10
1966 USC 7–4 4–1 T–1st L Rose 18
1967 USC 10–1 6–1 1st W Rose 1 1
1968 USC 9–1–1 6–0 1st L Rose 2 4
1969 USC 10–0–1 6–0 1st W Rose 4 3
1970 USC 6–4–1 3–4 T–6th 19 15
1971 USC 6–4–1 3–2–1 3 20
1972 USC 12–0 7–0 1st W Rose 1 1
1973 USC 9–2–1 7–0 1st L Rose 7 8
1974 USC 10–1–1 6–0–1 1st W Rose 1 2
1975 USC 8–4 3–4 5th W Liberty 19 18
USC: 127–40–8 70–17–3
Total: 127–40–8
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
TB 1976 0 14 0 .000 5th in AFC West - - - -
TB 1977 2 12 0 .143 5th in NFC Central - - - -
TB 1978 5 11 0 .312 5th in NFC Central - - - -
TB 1979 10 6 0 .625 1st in NFC Central 1 1 .500 Lost to Los Angeles Rams in NFC Championship Game.
TB 1980 5 10 1 .333 4th in NFC Central - - - -
TB 1981 9 7 0 .563 1st in NFC Central 0 1 .000 Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Divisional Game.
TB 1982 5 4 0 .556 2nd in NFC Central 0 1 .000 Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC 1st Round Game
TB 1983 2 14 0 .125 5th in NFC Central - - - -
TB 1984 6 10 0 .375 3rd in NFC Central - - - -
Total[6] 44 88 1 .333 1 3 .250

See also


  1. ^ The History of USC Football Volume Two 1960-1986 McClenahan-Kelly Productions Copyright 1987 University of Southern California and Trojans Video Partners
  2. ^ John McKay "In My Own Words" Fox Sports Net
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Sam Farmer, He took the money and ran -- to Tampa, Los Angeles Times, January 12, 2007, Accessed January 12, 2007.
  5. ^
  6. ^ John McKay Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks -

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Don Clark
University of Southern California Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
John Robinson
Preceded by
First Coach
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Leeman Bennett
Preceded by
Jess Hill
University of Southern California Athletic Director
Succeeded by
Dick Perry
Preceded by
Darrell Royal
Bob Devaney
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award
Succeeded by
Darrell Royal
Johnny Majors


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address