SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Legendary football coach Wayne Hardin, who got an early start as both a player and coach in the California community college system before coaching Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach and Navy, as well as Temple University, passed away recently in Pennslyvania at the age of 91.
Hardin was born March 23, 1926 in Smackover, Ark., before finding his way west where he attended the University of the Pacific (formerly called College of the Pacific). He played on San Joaquin Delta College's football team as a freshman, under rules of the day, despite attending Pacific before later playing on the Tigers' varsity. His coach at Pacific was Amos Alonzo Stagg, one of the most recognizable names in the history of the sport.
Hardin won 11 varsity letters for the Tigers and was enshrined in UOP's Hall of Fame in 1998.
He spent the 1953 and 1954 seasons as the head coach of Porterville College before taking an assistant coaching position at Navy and later becoming the Midshipmen's head coach from 1959-64. He led Navy to 38 wins and appearances in the 1960 Orange Bowl and 1963 Cotton Bowl Classic, the latter season coming with a No. 2 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
Hardin also has the distinction of coaching Navy's only two winners of the Heisman Trophy - Joe Bellino (1960) and Staubach (1963) - and beat rival Army five consecutive years, an accomplishment that wouldn't be replicated until 2007.
From 1970-82, Hardin led Temple to 80 wins. He is the most successful Owls football coach ever.
Hardin was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and the California Community College Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995.