Jack Faulkner, a longtime executive with the St. Louis Rams going back to the franchise’s days in Southern California, died Sunday night at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, the Rams announced. He was 82.
The cause of death was not disclosed, but Faulkner, most recently the Rams’ administrator for pro personnel and working out of his office in Orange County, had been in failing health for some time.
“I can’t overstate the significance he played in the history of the Rams,” said Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom. “We lost really one of the great connections to our past.”
Faulkner joined the Rams in 1955 under first-year coach Sid Gillman and was associated with the team for 43 of the 53 years he worked in pro football. He was one of the few remaining people to have worked as a coach in both the American Football League and the National Football League before the leagues merged in 1970.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Jack Taylor Faulkner served in the Marines during World War II and played his college football at Miami University in Ohio. He began his coaching career in 1949 at the University of Cincinnati under head coach Gillman.
Faulkner followed Gillman to the Los Angeles Chargers in the early 1960s on a coaching staff that also included future Raiders owner Al Davis and future Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll. When the team moved to San Diego, Faulkner went with them, coaching the defensive backs.
Faulkner became the Denver Broncos’ coach and general manager in 1962 and was honored as AFL coach of the year after leading the financially strapped franchise to a 7-7 record.
He worked as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints before rejoining the Rams in 1971 as a professional and college scout. He served as offensive backfield coach for the 1979 season, helping the Rams reach their first Super Bowl, which they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1980, he was appointed assistant general manager of the Rams. He was one of few employees to stay in California when the team relocated to St. Louis in 1995.
Faulkner is survived by his wife, Debbie, three sons and a daughter.