Phil Krueger, who worked as an assistant coach, front office executive and general manager with the Bucs for a decade, died Monday at his home in Pembroke Pines, according to son-in-law Todd Templin. He was 90.
Mr. Krueger compiled a 31-22 record as the head coach at Fresno State (1964-65) and Utah State (1973-75), and joined John McKay’s staff at Southern California (1966-70) in between as a defensive assistant. McKay hired him to coach the offensive backfield during the Bucs’ inaugural 1976 season.
Mr. Krueger also coached linebackers and special teams before moving to the front office following the 1980 season. He was known as a shrewd contract negotiator during a time when there was limited free agency and no salary cap.
He was named the Bucs’ first general manager (previously, coaches had control of personnel) in 1991, but coach Richard Williamson’s team went 3-13 and he left following that season.
After moving to south Florida to be closer to his daughter, Kristi, football remained in Mr. Krueger’s blood. He worked three years as a consultant for the Kajima Deers, a professional football team in Tokyo, Japan.
Mr. Krueger was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and a Korean War veteran, also earning the Bronze Star.
Mr. Krueger is survived by his wife of 59 years, Kathy; daughter Kristi Krueger, a long-time newscaster at WPLG-TV in Miami, and son-in-law Todd Templin, both of Pembroke Pines; grandson Troy Templin and wife Melissa Templin of Houston, Texas; and granddaughter Kelsie Templin of Fort Lauderdale.