Jan. 4, 2013
Pete Elliott, who coached Cal football from 1957-59 and directed the Golden Bears to the 1959 Rose Bowl, passed away after a short illness Friday. He was 86.
Elliott took over the Cal program after Pappy Waldorf's tenure ended in 1956. The Bears went just 1-9 in his first season in Berkeley. But in 1958, behind quarterback Joe Kapp and tailback Jack Hart, Cal captured the Pacific Coast Conference title and advanced to the Rose Bowl. Despite a 38-12 loss to Iowa, the Bears were ranked 16th in the final Associate Poll with a 7-4 mark. Elliott finished his career at Cal with a 10-21 overall record.
A three-sport letterman at Michigan who earned All-American honors at quarterback in football, Elliott began his coaching career as an assistant at Oregon State in 1949 before moving to Oklahoma under Bud Wilkinson in 1951. He later served as head coach at Nebraska in 1956, at Cal from 1957-59, at Illinois from 1960-66 and at Miami (Fla.) from 1973-74.
In addition to his Rose Bowl trip with the Bears, he took Illinois, which featured star linebacker Dick Butkus, to the Rose Bowl in 1964.
After a stint as director of athletics at Miami, Elliott returned to coaching with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL in 1978. He then served as executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 1979 until his retirement in 1996. Elliott was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.