I always liked Sam Wyche, and he used to do some TV football commentary on the NFL games after his NFL coaching career was complete and I thought he was very good in that role….He also had a chain, maybe a small chain, but a chain/group of sporting goods stores down in South Carolina, and they went by the name of something like, Sam Wyche Sports World….One thing Sam Wyche was, he was an Innovator…He has left us today at age 74, and who can ever forget him coaching “Boomer” Norman Esiason and “Ickey” Elbert Woods, back in the Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl heydays…..
Sam Wyche, who coached the Cincinnati Bengals to an appearance in the Super Bowl, died Thursday at age 74.
The Bengals confirmed Wyche’s death Thursday with a statement from team owner Mike Brown. According to a report by the team’s website, Wyche died at his home in Pickens, South Carolina.
Wyche’s son told Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV that the cause of death was complications from cancer. Wyche, who had a history of blood clots in his lungs and had a heart transplant in 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina, entered hospice on Monday, according to team officials.
From 1963 to 1965, Wyche played college football at Furman University as a quarterback He was also an initiated member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina.
**********While Sam Wyche was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals:**********
Wyche was known as the “Always Innovative Sam Wyche” by Norman Chad, as well as the nickname, “Wicky Wacky Wyche” for his unconventional play-calling. Wyche introduced the concept of having 12 or more players huddle on the field, then having a few leave the field. This was meant to confuse the defense as to the personnel grouping and give the offense an advantage. This has since been outlawed in the NFL. His Bengals were also the first to use the no-huddle/hurry-up offense as a base offense.
On December 10, 1989, during a game versus the Seattle Seahawks, Bengals fans began to throw snowballs onto the field in protest of what they believed to be a bad call by the officials. The Seahawks, who were at their own 4-yard line and an easy target from the bleachers, refused to continue until the snowball-throwing stopped, and play was halted by the officials. In order to stop the onslaught, Wyche was given a house microphone to try to calm the crowd. Wyche chided the fans who were doing the throwing, and alluded to the reputation of their in-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns:
“Will the next person that sees anybody throw anything onto this field, point ’em out, and get ’em out of here. You don’t live in Cleveland, you live in Cincinnati!”
On the Sam Wyche Sports World stores, this comes in from August 18, 1992 from www.goupstate.com:
The owners of Greenville-based Sam Wyche Sports World Inc. are negotiating to sell the sporting goods chain because of the poor economy and retail market, a company official said Monday. The company has sold or closed seven stores in the past 18 months, including two in Spartanburg in the last month. Six stores remain open in the Carolinas. “It’s because of the terrible state of the economy. Retailers in general are feeling a pinch at the moment,” said Pete Peckham, operations manager for Sam Wyche. “We’re in the process of selling the company for economic reasons.” He said the company has been looking for a buyer for the past several months.
from current Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown today:
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Sam Wyche earlier today. Sam’s innovative approach to offense left a lasting mark on the game of football,” Buccaneers owner/co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a statement. “As our head coach in the early 1990s, Sam was instrumental in drafting cornerstone players such as John Lynch, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, who were all key foundational parts of our eventual Super Bowl championship. The Buccaneers organization sends its heartfelt condolences to his wife, Jane, and the entire Wyche family.”
(Back in the day, Paul Brown had one heck of an organization, when he owned the Cincinnati Bengals….Remember their quarterback before Boomer Esiason, and that would be Ken Anderson, and I’m telling you, that QB Ken Anderson, he could sling that football with the best of them too.)