Ex-coach McKay to be honored by Bucs
TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay will be the next inductee into the team's Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium.
The club made the announcement Wednesday during a news conference attended by the late coach's son, Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay.
A ceremony is planned for Dec. 5, when the Bucs will wear orange throwback uniforms for a home game against the Falcons.
McKay, a national championship-winning college coach at South California who was also known for his quick wit and clever one-liners, coached the Bucs for the first nine seasons of the franchise's existence. He retired in 1984 and died in 2001.
"The wit ... he used it, in my mind, as a defense mechanism," said Rich McKay, a former Bucs general manager who helped build the team that won Tampa Bay's only Super Bowl title eight years ago.
"It was a mechanism to distract you, to take you from the heart of the target, which was the team didn't play very well, the quarterback didn't play very well, whoever didn't play very well, and to put it back to him and make the story the next day about him in the negative. I think he did a very good job of that."
The expansion Bucs went 0-14 in their inaugural season in 1976, then dropped the first 12 games the following season for a 26-game losing streak that still stands as an NFL record. In the franchise's fourth season, Tampa Bay not only made the playoffs for the first time but also advanced to the 1979 NFC Championship Game.
McKay becomes the second inductee into the Ring of Honor, joining Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon.
"He was a great man with a great vision, who took on a big challenge," said Selmon, the top pick in the 1976 draft.
"There were a lot of great players coming out of the college ranks. He had the pick of the litter. It's very humbling, and I'm so grateful to Coach that he decided he would give a shot to someone like me in that position."
Rich McKay shared stories about growing up around the Bucs, recounting how difficult the transition from USC to the NFL was on his father, who took the job with expectations of being able to field a competitive team right away.
"It was a struggle. I think my dad came to that realization probably the middle of the first year. The thing I was most proud of is he never complained about it; he just kind of said: 'Hey, it's going to be a little different than we thought,'" the Falcons executive said.
"There were plenty of times when he could have walked away and said: 'You know what, this is a little harder than I thought, it's going to take a little longer than I thought, I can always go back and coach somewhere else.' He wanted to finish the task. ... He did get the team turned around, and I think he would really enjoy the fact that in Tampa, his legacy is a positive one because he really had to work hard to get it to that position."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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