By Raiza Giorgi
The recent passing of football icon John Madden impacts not only the National Football League but also on the Central Coast. Some may not realize Madden played offensive tackle at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and was the head football coach at Allan Hancock College for several years.
His wife Virgina (Fields) Madden is from Los Alamos and the couple were married in Santa Maria in 1959, according to their wedding announcement in the Santa Maria Times.
Madden started as assistant coach at AHC during their 1960 football season. During that season, Hancock football had a perfect season and won the state title. He spent a total of four years at AHC before going to San Diego State as their defensive coordinator, and eventually onto the Oakland Raiders.
“Coach Madden was a very special part of Hancock football history which players and coaches remember fondly,” said AHC Athletic Director Kim Ensing. “Our hearts are heavy, and we express our sincere condolences to his family.”
Madden passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at the age of 85, according to the NFL.
“Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football. He was an incredible sounding board to me and so many others. There will never be another John Madden, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the NFL what it is today,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement.
Madden was head coach of the Oakland Raiders for 10 seasons and lead them to their first championship in Super Bowl XI. He was the youngest coach in NFL history to eclipse the 100-win mark when he achieved the feat at the age of 42, and Madden remains the winningest coach in Raiders history. He also holds the best winning percentage by an NFL head coach (minimum of 10 seasons) at .759, according to the NFL.
After he retired from coaching in 1979, he spent another career as a broadcaster as his voice was equal to that of Vin Scully’s, synonymous with the game. He retired from broadcasting in 2009.
Aside from coaching and broadcasting, Madden is also known in the gaming world for his Madden NFL video game series which started in 1988. Electronic Arts has sold more than 250 million copies of the Madden NFL series, according to the NFL.