Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 3/21/12

Ron Erhardt, head coach of the New England Patriots from 1979-81, has passed away just three weeks after his 80th birthday.

Erhardt took over the Patriots after Chuck Fairbanks fled for Colorado following the 1978 home playoff loss to Houston.

In his first two seasons the team was a combined 19-13 and the 1980 team scored a then franchise record 441 points (not broken until 2007) but the team tanked in 1981 and finished 2-14.  Owner Billy Sullivan thought Erhardt “was just too nice a guy” and he was fired two days after the season ended.

After he left the Patriots, he was hired by Ray Perkins and the Giants to be their offensive coordinator.  He stayed on when Perkins left for the University of Alabama and, Erhardt’s former linebacker’s coach with the Patriots, Bill Parcells took over.  He helped lead the Giants offense to two Super Bowl titles.

Erhardt also coached with the Pittsburgh Steelers (offensive coordinator), New York Jets (offensive coordinator) and he was an assistant coach, then head coach and athletic director for North Dakota State University in the 1960’s and early 70’s before coming to Foxboro as backfield coach in 1973.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII

Photo credit: Dickinson Press

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