Former Titans GM Floyd Reese Passes Away

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Former Titans General Manager Floyd Reese, the architect of one of the most successful runs in franchise history, has passed away.

Reese was 73.

The Titans were informed by his family that Reese passed away this morning.

According to his friends at ESPN 102.5 The Game in Nashville, where Reese previously worked as a radio talk show host until December 2020, Reese died "peacefully this morning, surrounded by his family, after a battle with cancer."

Reese, who had a 21-year run (1986-2006) with the Oilers/Titans as a coach and executive, is the winningest general manager in franchise history. His vision helped pave the way for a memorable run of success for the Titans once the team moved from Houston to Tennessee.

In Reese's tenure with the organization, the team advanced to the playoffs 11 times. As General Manager (1994-2006), he tallied 111 wins (106 regular season/5 postseason) and the Titans advanced to two AFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl (XXXIV).

Earlier this year, the team announced plans to induct Reese into the franchise's Ring of Honor with former head coaches Jeff Fisher and O.A "Bum" Phillips.

"This is a sad day for our Titans family," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "I would like to send along my deepest condolences to Floyd's wife, Sally, to his children, grandchildren and extended family. Floyd spent over two decades with our franchise in a variety of roles – position coach, assistant general manager and ultimately, general manager – and he excelled at all of them. As general manager, he built a team that saw sustained success and helped guide our franchise in the toughest of times and the highest moments. His keen eye for talent led him to some of the best players in our team's history, which led the team to some of our greatest accomplishments. We look forward to remembering and honoring his legacy this season as he is formally inducted into our Ring of Honor."

Reese, who was dealing with health problems at the time, said he was happy to get the induction news from Amy Adams Strunk.

"First of all, it was a real treat to get to talk to (Amy) again," Reese said last month. "I think the way she explained it … this is one of the highest, if not the highest honor, that we could bestow on somebody that's not in the NFL Hall of Fame. And so that kind of makes you realize that this is special. I know it's special too because I think there was – there's been so much time and effort that we put in – not just me, but … Jeff, and everybody involved, I mean, for years and years and years. To have this come true for me was a special treat."

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson, who worked with Reese in New England, also expressed his condolences.

"I'm saddened to hear about the passing of Floyd Reese and my heartfelt condolences go out to Ms. Sally, the family, and all that were close to him," Robinson said on Saturday. "He was a great man. He loved his family, he loved football, and he loved the Titans. I learned a lot from him, he was always willing to listen, and he wanted to pass on his knowledge of the game to me and so many others. I'm forever grateful that I could call him a friend. Thank you for everything Floyd, I'll see you again someday!"

As a talent evaluator, Reese collected some of the franchise's great ones - QB Steve McNair, RB Eddie George, TE Frank Wycheck, DE Jevon Kearse, WR Derrick Mason, LB Keith Bulluck, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DL, C Kevin Mawae, P Craig Hentrich, DT Albert Haynesworth and QB Vince Young. That grouping of players would collect 27 Pro Bowl honors, three Rookies of the Year (George/Kearse/Young) and one AP Co-MVP (McNair in 2003) for the club. Reese originally joined the club in 1986 as a linebacker coach for the Oilers and following four seasons in that role, he was named Assistant General Manager (1990-93) under Mike Holovak.

Strunk had words of praise for Reese after delivering him news of the induction.

"Floyd was a great position coach for us during our run of success during the Run 'n Shoot years and then transitioned to the front office, where he found even greater success," Strunk said last month. "He had a great ability to find talent and take 'chances' to find sustained success – hiring a first-time head coach in Jeff Fisher; selecting a Division I-AA quarterback, Steve McNair, in the top five of the draft; converting a first-round linebacker, Jevon Kearse, to defensive end; claiming a little used tight end, Frank Wycheck, from Washington; and trading down, then up to grab a Heisman-trophy-winning running back, Eddie George."

Reese, who had a 21-year run (1986-2006) with the Oilers/Titans as a coach and executive, is the winningest general manager in franchise history. His vision helped pave the way for a memorable run of success for the Titans once the team moved from Houston to Tennessee.

One of Reese's first big decisions as general manager was to hire Fisher as head coach.

Last month, Fisher gave Reese a lot of credit for building a team that went to the playoff four times in five years from 1999-2003.

During that stretch, the Titans 61 wins in the regular season and playoffs tied the St. Louis Rams for the most in the NFL.

Of the 22 starters for the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, 13 were drafted by Reese.

It was a magical era for Titans football indeed, thanks in large part to Reese's keen eye for talent.

This fall, Fisher and Reese will be honored at a game that is still to be determined.

"To bring the Oilers to Nashville, to have the success that we did, none of it would've been possible without Floyd," Fisher said when news of the induction was made public. "Floyd behind the scenes did so much for this organization. The head coach gets the credit, the head coach gets fired when they don't win, the GM, the general managers just work. It's what they do, they just work. Without all Floyd's hard work, his vision and everything over the years, those years leading up to the '99 season, and then our effort to sustain was pretty impressive. We had a five-year span where nobody won more games in the league than we did."

A former All-America defensive lineman at UCLA (1966-69), Reese played one season with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League before entering the coaching ranks. He began his coaching career at Liberty Union High in Brentwood, Calif., before returning to his alma mater in Westwood as an assistant coach in 1971. Reese spent three seasons at UCLA before moving to Georgia Tech in 1974.

Reese entered the NFL in 1975, serving as the strength and conditioning coach for the Detroit Lions. Reese then joined the San Francisco 49ers for one season (1978), before joining Bud Grant's staff as linebackers and special teams coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 1979. He served that role until 1984, when he was elevated to Defensive Coordinator. He tutored the linebackers for one season prior to joining the Oilers.

In 1986, Reese began his long association with the Titans, where he would eventually help put the team on a national stage during a memorable period long-time fans will never forget.

Survivors include his wife, Sally, sons Jeremy and Sean, and grandchildren.

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