PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Harry Gamble, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles as well as Lafayette, Penn and New Jersey high school teams before retiring as the Eagles’ president, died Tuesday, the team said in a statement. He was 83.
In 1981, Gamble joined the Eagles as a volunteer assistant coach under Dick Vermeil and became a full-time staffer a year later, coaching special teams and tight ends. He moved into the front office as director of football operations in 1984, and a year later he was named general manager by owner Leonard Tose.
In 1986, he became team president, a position he held until 1994.
He was remembered by Eagles Chairman Jeffrey Lurie for his efforts to promote football, his coaching prowess and his love of family.
”Harry is a legendary football figure in the city of Philadelphia and South Jersey,” Lurie said in a statement. ”He was an excellent football coach, executive and philanthropist, but he will be remembered most for his warm personality, his strong character and his love for his family.”
A native of Pitman, N.J., Gamble played offensive lineman at Rider College in New Jersey and served in the Army. He started teaching and coaching at Clayton and Audubon high schools in New Jersey from 1954 to 1961 before being hired by Penn to be an assistant coach from 1962 to 1966.
That was followed by a stint as head coach at Lafayette in Pennsylvania until 1970.
He returned to Penn as head coach in 1971 and remained there until 1980. While coaching there, he was selected as the NCAA District 1 Coach of the Year and named by the New York Sportswriters Association as the University Division Eastern coach of the year in 1972.
Gamble, who held master’s and doctoral degrees from Temple University, is survived by wife Joan, sons Harry and Tom and three grandchildren. Tom Gamble is the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel.