Pardee played under head coach Bear Bryant at Texas A&M. In 1954, Pardee and Bryant’s first year in College Station, Texas, Pardee became one of the “Junction Boys.” Bryant brought 100 players to camp and only 35, including Pardee, would survive the grueling conditions that Bryant made them practice under.
Pardee was the No. 14 overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 1957. He went on to play 16 years in the NFL as a linebacker for the Rams and Redskins. He was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 1963.
After his playing career was over, Pardee immediately took a head coaching job with the Florida Blazers of the WFL. Pardee moved on to the NFL to take over the Chicago Bears in 1975, where he coached until 1977. Pardee coached the Washington Redskins from 1978 to 1980.
After stints as defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and head coach of the USFL Houston Gamblers, Pardee brought his run-and-shoot offense to the University of Houston. Under Pardee, Andre Ware became the first African-American quarterback to win the Heisman, and the team set numerous offensive records, including becoming the first team to have 1,000 total yards in a single game.
Pardee moved back to the NFL in 1990 when he coached Warren Moon and the Oilers until 1994. The team made the playoffs his first four years. Pardee had an 87-77 career coaching record in the NFL. He was 22-11 in the NCAA ranks.
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