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Pro football coach, broadcasting legend who got his start on Central Coast dies

Football legend John Madden dies at the age of 85.
Football legend John Madden dies at the age of 85.

John Madden played at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, coached at Allan Hancock College.

A pro football legend who got his start on the Central Coast has died.

John Madden was one of the most successful NFL coaches in history, and a longtime sportscaster.

He has deep roots on the Central Coast. Madden played football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1957, and 1958. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal Poly.

He was voted to the all-conference teams, starting on both the offensive and defense lines. And, he earned bot a bachelor’s and master degree from Cal Poly.

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, a knee injury during his rookie season ended his playing career. He turned to coaching, starting at Santa Maria’s Allen Hancock College, where he spent three seasons.

Madden eventually became head coach of the Oakland Raiders. With a 103-32-7 record, his winning percentage is still the best of anyone in the NFL.

He spent 30 years in broadcast booths before retiring in 2009. The Madden NFL video game still bears his name.

There’s no word on the cause of death. Madden was 85 years old.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.