Hank Stram, sports broadcaster for two decades and before that the Kansas City Chiefs’ first coach and winningest coach of the American Football League, died July 4, in a suburban New Orleans hospital. He was 82 and had been in declining health for several years including complications from diabetes.
Extroverted Pro Football Hall of Fame member led the Chiefs to two Super Bowls, was known for innovative game plans, and worked in broadcasting on CBS on TV and then radio, where he called “Monday Night Football” games. He also did radio commentary for four Super Bowls.
He coached the Dallas Texans and stayed with the team when it became the Kansas City Chiefs. After the AFL and National Football League merged in 1970, he briefly coached the New Orleans Saints and retired in the area.
The colorful and humorous Stram was also the first coach to wear a mike in a championship game, in this case for NFL Films.
Chi native grew up in Gary, Ind., where he was an all-state halfback in football and starred in baseball. After WWII Army Air Forces service, he graduated from Purdue U., where he played football and baseball, then stayed at Purdue for seven years as a football and baseball coach. He then coached at Southern Methodist U., Notre Dame and the U. of Miami.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Phyllis; four sons; two daughters; and a sister.