Former Chargers, SDSU football coach Tom Bass dies at 83


Tom Bass and Don Coryell chat at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium in 1982. (Bill Romero/San Diego Union-Tribune)

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SAN DIEGO — Former San Diego Chargers and San Diego State University football coach Tom Bass died Saturday at his Encinitas home, it was announced Tuesday. He was 83.

Bass served as an assistant coach under Don Coryell both at SDSU in the 1960s and with the San Diego Chargers from 1982 to 1985.

Bass also did coaching stints with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tampa Bay Bucaneers in the 1960s and 1970s, and as an executive with the New England Patriots in 1992.

Bass began his coaching career after a polio diagnosis ended his college football career at San Jose State University. In addition to his multiple decades of coaching, Bass authored several football coaching books, including “Play Football the NFL Way,” and two poetry books, “Fly Free My Love” and “Pro Football from the Inside.”

After the end of his coaching and executive career, Bass began offering football coaching clinics and consulting services. He also served as a board member for the La Jolla Playhouse and Florida’s Gulfcoast Symphony, as the director of football education for the San Diego Hall of Champions, and as a color commentator with play-by-play man Ted Leitner for SDSU football radio broadcasts.

Bass is survived by his wife Michele, brother Bob, sons Michael, Robert and David, daughter Shana, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The Bass family plans to hold a private memorial service and celebration of life.

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