NEW YORK — Jack Pardee, a survivor of coach Bear Bryant’s brutal ‘‘Junction Boys’’ training camp at Texas A&M who went on to become a longtime NFL linebacker and head coach, died Monday. He was 76.
The cause was gallbladder cancer, said the University of Houston, where he coached in the late 1980s. Mr. Pardee, who had retired to a farm in Gause, Texas, recently moved to a hospice in a Denver suburb to be near family members.
In the football-frenzied state of Texas, he was an Iowa native who became a revered figure.
Mr. Pardee was an outstanding fullback and linebacker at Texas A&M and was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
He coached the 1989 University of Houston team that compiled awesome statistics in the Run and Shoot offense behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Andre Ware. Mr. Pardee later coached the Houston Oilers to four consecutive playoff appearances.
Mr. Pardee was recruited for Texas A&M by an assistant coach who saw him plowing through defenders in six-man football at his tiny high school in west-central Texas.
When Bryant arrived at Texas A&M, in 1954, he was determined to mold a team that could endure almost anything.
He took more than 100 hopefuls, among them Mr. Pardee, a sophomore, to a parched makeshift training camp near the little town of Junction. Bryant put the players through brutal drills in temperatures rising well beyond 100 degrees and denied them water or ice for much of the time.
After 10 days, Mr. Pardee was among only 35 survivors, the others gratefully taking bus rides back to the campus.
At 6 feet 2 and 225 pounds, he played both offense and defense in three seasons for Bryant.
Mr. Pardee played linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins.
Mr. Pardee was also the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1975 to 1977, and coached the Redskins from 1978 to 1980.