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McKay sick in hospital

Bucs' first coach in intensive care at St. Joseph's.


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2001

TAMPA -- John McKay, the Bucs' charismatic first coach, is in fair condition in the intensive care unit at St. Joeseph's Hospital, where he was admitted nearly a week ago suffering complications from diabetes.

McKay, 78, has been in faltering health and has had kidney dialysis three times a week.

At the request of the McKay family, no details of his condition are being provided by hospital officials or the Buccaneers.

McKay was rushed to St. Joeseph's after arriving from California on a commercial flight last week.

He has been visited by family members and close friends, including New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

McKay's son, Bucs general manager Rich McKay, declined to comment Tuesday.

"It's hard for a guy like that to be sick because he's such an active man," Tampa Mayor Dick Greco said. "I wish him well. He's a colorful man and a wonderful family man."

Already a coaching legend at Southern California, where he coached four national championship teams, McKay endured an NFL-record 26 straight defeats after taking over the expansion Bucs in 1976.

But two seasons after posting their first victory, McKay led the Bucs to the NFL Championship Game in the 1979 season. They lost to the Los Angeles Rams 9-0.

McKay announced his retirement with six games remaining in the 1984 season. He finished with a record of 44-88-1.

- Staff writer Ernest Hooper contributed to this report.

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