Football coaches act as the backbone of any football team. Not only do they guide the players, but they encourage them to give their best performance.
They keep the potential to transform a team from their lows to absolute highs. Besides that, coaches also affect how bookmakers decide on NFL week 10 odds as their strategy can change the likelihood of events.
So yes, coaches are important individuals in sports, and the industry has been blessed by many such talented souls. This reminds us of Hank Stram, the outstanding coach whose coaching did justice to his “Rats.”
Let’s know about Hank Stram, his life history, his football career, facts, statistics, and more.
Stram was born Henry Louis Stram in the year 1923 (January 3) in Chicago. Back then, his father was a professional wrestler, and his name was Stram. So, he got his family name from the same.
Hank Stram grew up in Indiana and did his schooling at Lew Wallace High School. In the year 1940, he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity at Purdue after getting seven letters through baseball and football. With this, Stram was associated with two of the most popular sports in America.
He was also an army man, as he served the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
Hank Stram married Phyllis Marie Pesha back in the year 1953. The couple was together until Stram’s death in the year 2005.
Together, they had four sons and two daughters. One of his children is Henry Stram, a popular actor who was part of Star Trek: Enterprise, Law & Order, and others.
Coming to his coaching career, Hank Stram started off as an assistant coach at the University of Miami. This was back in the year 1959 when Stram was hired by Lamar Hunt, the first head coach of the Dallas Texans of AFL.
Hunt’s choice was quite good, as Stram’s coaching worked well, and the team bagged the 1962 AFL championship title. As time passed, Stram’s success took a toll.
He became the only coach in the AFL whose team went to the Super Bowl. While they lost to the Green Bay Packers in the first season, they came back stronger and better when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in season 4. His team led the Vikings with a 23-7 score.
Throughout their association with Stram, the Dallas Texans bagged several championship titles. He was also the reason behind the Dallas AFC Western Division championship.
The strategy of Stram was quite innovative than other coaches. He used talents like Len Dawson as quarterbacks and ensured a two-tight end offense, who worked as an extra blocker. For his defense, his strategy was to have linebackers behind the down lineman, which he called “stack defense.”
Also, about five players coached by Stram were members of the Hall of Fame. The list includes names like Buck Buchanan, Dawson, Bobby Bell, Jan Stenerud, and Willie Lanier. He coached the Dallas Texans and New Orleans Saints for 17 seasons and was awarded the American Football League Coach of the Year (1968).
Throughout his NFL career, Stram has coached the following teams:
- Dallas Texans or Kansas City Chiefs- (1960-1974)
- New Orleans Saints (1976-1977)
Career Highlights and Awards
- AFL Championship winner (thrice, 1962, 1966, 1969)
- PFW AFL Coach of the Year (1968)
- UPI AFL Coach of the Year (1968)
- World Champion and Super Bowl IV winner (1969)
- Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003
- Won-Loss Record: 136-100-10
- Games Coached: 238
- Coaching winning percentage: .575
Head Coaching Record
- Regular season: 131–97–10 (.571)
- Postseason: 5–3 (.625)
- Overall Career: 136–100–10 (.573)
- Boilermaker’s baseball coach
- SMU Mustangs football coach
- Champion of the American Rugby Championship
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish football coach
- Miami Hurricanes football team coach
After retiring from football, Stram went on to become a broadcaster. He was a color commentator on CBS television and also did radio broadcasts for NFL tournaments. He started off with CBS in 1975, where he called several popular games.
He had broadcasted with many popular names, including Tim Brant, Steve Zabriskie, and Jack Buck. Stram was known for his play predictions during the broadcast. He was associated with CBS until 1993, and his last tournament as a broadcaster was Super Bowl XXX for CBS Radio (1996).
In his later life, Stram made a guest appearance on the TV show coach. He was one of the coaches who were a part of the coaching convention. The episode also featured Barry Switzer, George Allen, and Hayden Fox.
After retiring from New Orleans, Louisiana, Stram lived in Covington. He died on July 4, 2005, at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington. The reason for his death was diabetes-related complications.
Hopefully, now you know everything about coach Hank Stram.