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Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche dies at 74

Published: Thursday, January 02, 2020 @ 3:22 PM

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 7: Head coach Sam Wyche of the Cincinnati Bengals talks to his quarterback Boomer Esiason #7 on the sidelines during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Anaheim Stadium on October 7, 1990 in Anaheim, California. The Bengals won 34-31. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Staff Writer
ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 7: Head coach Sam Wyche of the Cincinnati Bengals talks to his quarterback Boomer Esiason #7 on the sidelines during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Anaheim Stadium on October 7, 1990 in Anaheim, California. The Bengals won 34-31. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)(Staff Writer)

Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche died Thursday at his home in South Carolina. Wyche was 74.
Wyche, who had a history of blood clots in his lungs and had a heart transplant in 2016, died of melanoma, officials with the Bengals confirmed.

"It was in his liver and he just went really fast," Sam's son, Zak Wyche, told WCPO.com, Cox Media Group Ohio’s news partner. "He was able to walk around Saturday with a walker and then the next morning he was unresponsive."

Wyche spent part of his playing career with the Bengals but was better known as the head coach of the team from 1984-91. 

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He led them to the Super Bowl in the 1988 season and had the team on the verge of victory over the 49ers until Joe Montana led a game-winning drive. 

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“Sam was a wonderful guy,” team president Mike Brown said in a statement released by the team. “We got to know him as both a player and a coach. As our coach, he had great success and took us to the Super Bowl. He was friends with everyone here, both during his tenure as head coach and afterwards. We not only liked him, we admired him as a man. 

“He had a great generosity of spirit and lived his life trying to help others. We express our condolences to Jane and his children Zak and Kerry.” 

A protege of the legendary Paul Brown, Wyche was regarded as an innovative offensive mind and pushed the Bengals forward with a no-huddle offense that was revolutionary at the time. 

He went 61-66 in the regular season in Cincinnati and won three playoff games, including the team’s last postseason victory in January 1991. 

After his eight-year stint with the Bengals, Wyche was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four seasons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.