Former Bucs coach Ray Perkins dies at age 79

Head Coach Ray Perkins of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches during a National Football League game against the San Francisco 49ers played on November 18, 1990 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Ray Perkins has died, according to reports out of Alabama.

The 79-year-old passed away this morning at his home after suffering from heart issues, reports

Perkins played college football for legendary coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant at Alabama and then won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Colts. He moved onto coaching, working as an assistant with the Patriots and Chargers before taking the head coaching job with the New York Giants.

Perkins later succeeded his former coach at Alabama when Bryant retired in 1983. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lured him back to the NFL as a head coach in 1987 to replace Leeman Bennett.

The Bucs drafted Vinny Testaverde in 1987 with the first overall pick. But in four years with the team, Perkins went 19 and 41 before being let go by then-owner Hugh Culverhouse.

During his time in the league, he helped started the careers of future NFL head coaches Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, and Romeo Crennel by hiring them as assistants.