Phil Krueger, the Buccaneers' first general manager, dies at 90

Longtime college and NFL coach Phil Krueger, who won a national title at USC and was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first general manager, died at his home on Monday, his family told the Associated Press on Saturday.

He was 90.

Krueger served as a defensive assistant with USC from 1966-1970, and helped lead them to the national title in 1967 while going 10-1. He also served as an assistant coach at Illinois and was the head coach at both Fresno State and Utah State. He compiled a 21-12 record in his three seasons with the Aggies. 

He made the jump to the NFL when the league expanded in 1976, joining John McKay’s staff in Tampa Bay — the same coach he served under at USC. They went just 2-26 in his first two seasons there, however the team reached the NFC title game in 1979. 

Krueger later became an assistant to owner Hugh Culverhouse in 1981, and then was hired as the team’s first general manager in 1991. He stayed in that position for just one season. 

The Illinois native, who played football himself at Southeast Missouri State, was a first lieutenant in the Army and earned the Bronze Star while serving in the Korean War, per the Associated Press

He is survived by his wife, Kathy, daughter Kristi and two grandchildren.

“Phil Krueger was tough … the reason I couldn’t get a date in high school (that’s my story), but my friends loved ‘Big Phil’ and he loved them,” Kristi wrote on Facebook, in part. “Dad was a brilliant writer and the reason I love poetry. You loved Oliver Wendell Holmes, Daddy, because you  were The Last Leaf On The Tree. RIP.”

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