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Ditka fired
NOP2000010501 - 05 JANUARY 2000 - NEW ORLEANS, LA, USA: Saints Coach Mike Ditka watches as the Saints beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Louisiana Superdome Aug. 28, 1998. Ditka was fired by the Saints, January 5, after three straight losing seasons. Ditka has vowed never to coach again. jr/aj/A.J. Sisco UPI
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Michael Keller Ditka, Jr. (born October 18, 1939), also known as "Iron Mike", is a former American football NFL player, television commentator, and coach. Ditka coached the Chicago Bears for 11 years and New Orleans Saints for three years. Ditka and Tom Flores are the only two people to win Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach. Ditka was the only individual to participate in both of the last two Chicago Bears' championships, as a player in 1963 and as head coach in 1985.

Ditka was born as Michael Dyczko in the Pittsburgh-area town of Carnegie on October 18, 1939. The oldest child of Mike Sr. and Charlottte, he grew up in nearby Aliquippa, Pennsylvania with siblings Ashton, David, and Mary Ann. Mike Sr., a welder, was one of three brothers of a Ukrainian family in the coal mining and steel manufacturing area in Western Pennsylvania. The surname "Dyczko" was difficult to pronounce in his hometown, so the family name was changed to "Ditka." Ditka attended St. Titus School.

A three-sport star at Aliquippa High School, Ditka hoped to escape his hometown's manufacturing jobs by attending college with a football scholarship. Planning to become a dentist, he was recruited by Notre Dame, Penn State, and Pitt. Ditka played for the University of Pittsburgh from 1958–1960, where he also became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He started all three seasons and is widely considered one of the best tight ends in college football history. In addition to playing tight end, he also served as the team's punter. He led the team in receiving in all three of his seasons with them and was a first team selection on the College Football All-America Team in his senior year. In 1986, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mike Ditka."
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