College Football Hall of Famer and longtime NFL linebacker and coach Maxie Baughan died on Saturday, the Philadelphia Eagles announced.
He was 85.
Baughan, who played for the Eagles for six seasons, died of natural causes while surrounded by family members, the team said.
“On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles family, I am saddened to learn of the passing of Maxie Baughan, one of our team’s all-time greats,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “A member of the 1960 NFL Championship team as a rookie, he went on to earn All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors during his career while playing a tough, hard nosed style of football. Maxie’s induction into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015 solidified his legacy and recognized his contributions to the team. Our hearts are with his wife, Dianne, and all Maxie’s family and friends as they mourn his passing.”
Baughan was first selected by the Eagles with the No. 20 pick in 1960 out of Georgia Tech, where he was an All-American as a linebacker and center. He had a then-school record 124 tackles during his senior season. He spent six seasons with the Eagles, where he had seven interceptions and helped lead the team to an NFL title in his rookie season.
Baughan then spent five seasons playing for the Los Angeles Rams before retiring after the 1970 season. He returned for one year in 1974, where he was a player-coach with Washington. Baughan, a nine-time Pro Bowler, retired with 18 total interceptions over 147 games.
Baughan also worked as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech before jumping back to the league to work as an assistant in Baltimore, Detroit, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. He was named Cornell’s head coach in 1984, too, and he led the school to an Ivy League title four years later.
Baughan was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988, and he was a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year.
“Maxie Baughan was a fierce and highly intelligent competitor, establishing himself as the best center in the nation in 1959,” National Football Foundation chairman Archie Manning said in a statement, via The Associated Press. “His passion for the game continued throughout his lifetime, and he mentored countless great players over the years, coaching both in college and the NFL. He became an integral part of our game, and we are deeply saddened to learn of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”