Redskins legend Joe Bugel, architect of ‘Hogs,’ dies at 80

Members of the Washington Redskins “Hogs” gather for a portrait during picture day activities in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 17, 1984. The “Hogs” are, from left: guard Mark May; assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel; center Jeff Bostic; tackle George Starke; guard Russ Grimm and tackle Joe Jacoby. (AP Photo)

Joe Bugel, the Redskins assistant coach who was the architect of the team’s legendary offensive line known as “The Hogs” in the 1980s, died Sunday, the team announced. He was 80.

Bugel was the team’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 1981-82 and the assistant head coach from 1983 to 1989. He returned to the Redskins as assistant head coach-offense from 2004 to 2009, the team said in a statement.

“I am absolutely devastated by the news of Joe’s passing,” owner Dan Snyder said in the statement. “ … 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.”

Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame head coach of the Redskins during their run of Super Bowls, said in the statement, “Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football. … 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.”

Former quarterback Joe Theismann tweeted later Sunday, “Joe Bugel was a friend as much as a coach. For those of us who had the privilege to know him we were blessed.”

The Hogs, including Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Mark May, Jeff Bostic and George Starke, led the way as the Redskins made three Super Bowls, winning two, between 1983 and 1988. In addition to coaching the famed unit, Bugel gave it the nickname that spawned thousands of fans wearing pig snouts and dresses called “the Hogettes.”

Bugel was promoted to assistant head coach in 1983, the year the Redskins scored a then-NFL record 541 points. That team reached the Super Bowl, where it lost to the Los Angeles Raiders.

In his first nine years in Washington, Bugel helped the Redskins have four 1,000-yard rushers, one 4,000-yard passer and nine 1,000-yard receivers.

After his first stint in Washington, Bugel was hired by the Cardinals as head coach in 1990. He led the team for four seasons before joining the Oakland Raiders as assistant head coach/offense from 1995-96 and head coach in 1997. He coached the offensive line for the then-San Diego Chargers from 1998-2001.

After a two-year break from coaching, Bugel returned to the Redskins in 2004 as assistant head coach-offense under Gibbs, although his primary job was to work with the offensive line. He stayed on as offensive line coach in 2008 and retired following the 2009 season.

Of his 32 NFL seasons, Bugel spent 15 in Washington.

Bugel was born on March 10, 1940. A Pittsburgh native, Bugel was a two-way star in football at Munhall High School.

In 2005, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (Western Chapter). Bugel is survived by his wife, Brenda, and daughters Angie and Jennifer. His daughter Holly Bugel died in 2008.

WTOP’s Rob Woodfork and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up