Former Redskins Executive, UCLA HC Pepper Rodgers Dies at 88

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon son of former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, works out with Coach Pepper Rodgers on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 1972 in Los Angeles. After UCLA?s upset win over Nebraska lat week, Rodgers said ?Mark Harmon?s opening-game performance was better then that of the other quarterbacks I?ve had.? (AP Photo/GB)
GB/Associated Press

Pepper Rodgers, a former college football head coach and Washington Redskins front office executive, died Thursday in Virginia. He was 88.

His son, Rick Rodgers, told Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times that Rodgers suffered a fall in his home Saturday that led to arterial bleeding and further complications, including a stroke and a heart attack.

"The doctors told us this would be a serious thing for a 19-year-old, much less an 88-year-old," Rick said. "He had movements and he stabilized, but he never responded to sight or sound."

Rodgers' coaching career included stops at Kansas, UCLA and Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech Sports @GTAthletics

We mourn the loss of legendary @GeorgiaTechFB letterwinner and former head coach, Pepper Rodgers. https://t.co/qucGbauJoM https://t.co/aOFT6lOG6E

The Atlanta native was a quarterback and kicker for the Yellow Jackets during his collegiate playing career before joining the Air Force. He then started coaching at the Academy, serving as a Falcons assistant beginning in 1958.

UCLA Football @UCLAFootball

We honor the memory of former head coach Pepper Rodgers and send our condolences to those closest to him. https://t.co/QPgVMMWtkA https://t.co/ZYm9ktFWv6

After working on the staffs at Florida and UCLA, his first head coaching opportunity came with the Jayhawks in 1967. In all, he posted a 73-65-3 record across 13 years with KU, the Bruins and the Yellow Jackets.

"I proved everything: I can coach good players, I can't coach bad ones," Rodgers joked during a 2018 interview with Bolch.

He also had short stints as head coach of the Memphis Showboats (USFL) and Memphis Mad Dogs (CFL) at the end of his coaching career.

Washington Redskins @Redskins

Statement from Owner Dan Snyder on the passing of Former VP of Football Operations Pepper Rodgers https://t.co/YhxjZIl3Yg

Rodgers worked as the Redskins' vice president of football operations from 2001 until his 2004 retirement.