Ex-Patriots CEO, Miami Hurricanes athletic director Sam Jankovich dies at 85

By Alex Butler

Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Former New England Patriots CEO and University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich has died at age 85.

Jankovich, who led the Hurricanes during a span of seven national titles, died Wednesday in Hayden Lake, Ohio. The Patriots issued a statement on his death Friday.


Jankovich was named Patriots CEO in 1990 after his seven-year tenure at Miami. He resigned from that role in 1993. Jankovic also served as president and general manager for the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League.

"Because of his extensive background in collegiate athletics, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue named Jankovich chairman of the league's College Relations Committee," the Patriots release said.

Jankovich served as athletic director at Washington State University before being hired by the Hurricanes. He also worked as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Washington State football team and as an assistant coach at Montana State.


"Our hearts are broken with the passing of legendary former UM athletic director Sam Jankovich," Miami athletic director Blake James tweeted. "No one personified what being a Cane meant more than Sam.

"The Hurricane Family sends its love to Sam's family and friends."

Prior to his coaching career, tenure in the front office and in administrator roles, the Butte, Mont. native was a standout player for the Butte High School football team and recruited by the University of Montana. He served in the U.S. Army for 21 months after his first year playing at Montana. Jankovic sustained a career-ending injury while playing for the Grizzlies.

After graduating, Jankovich returned to Butte High School to work as an assistant coach before being hired as head coach. He led the team to two state championships before leaving Butte for Montana State in 1965.

Jankovich was married to wife Patricia for 37 years. A funeral service will be held Saturday in Butte.

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