Former head coach Devine dies at age 77

Dan Devine, who coached the Green Bay Packers in the early 1970s, died Thursday after a long illness in Tempe, Ariz. at the age of 77.<p>

Devine underwent quintuple bypass surgery in February, had post-surgery complications and did not recover well, according to reports. He had been ill for a long time.

Although some people questioned whether he could bring the success he had coaching college teams to the pros, Devine silenced the critics in his first two seasons in Green Bay. The Packers finished fourth in the NFC Central in his first season with a 4-8-2 record. The next season, behind the powerful backfield tandem of John Brockington (1,027 yards rushing) and MacArthur Lane (821 yards), Green Bay got off to a 4-1 start and won six of its last seven games to take the Central Division title with a 10-4 mark.

But the Packers went 5-7-2 the next season. After Devine gave up Green Bay's first five draft choices over the 1975-76 seasons for aging quarterback John Hadl, the Packers finished 6-8. Devine subsequently resigned from his five-year contract after the 1974 season with a 25-27-4 regular season record, and 0-1 in the playoffs.

"People didn't seem to respond to his personality," said Lee Remmel, the team's longtime public relations chief. "When he won the division championship in '72, he was pretty popular."

Devine became head coach of Notre Dame a day after the 1974 season ended in Atlanta. He led the Irish to a national championship in 1977. In 22 seasons as a college head coach, Devine's record was an impressive 172-57-9 (.742 winning percentage).

Devine's son, Dan Jr., is football coach at Jefferson Junior High in Columbia, Mo. Devine's wife, Joanne, died, Dec. 19, 2000. Devine was born on Dec. 23, 1924, in Augusta in western Wisconsin.The funeral will be Friday, May 17, at 10 a.m. at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Phoenix.

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