|Intro||American football executive|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth|| 27 April 1919 |
, Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
|Death|| 8 April 2003 |
(aged 84 years)
Ed McCaskey (April 27, 1919 – April 8, 2003) was the Chairman of the Chicago Bears.
Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, McCaskey served in the 80th Division of the United States Army during World War II for two-and-a-half years. Though he was later injured, he refused the Purple Heart, and was subsequently awarded the Bronze Star Medal and a combat infantry badge. Afterwards, McCaskey became a salesman and a singer in a band, though lost out to Frank Sinatra to join the Harry James Band as a singer, and in 1943, he married Virginia Halas, daughter of the Chicago Bears’ coach George Halas. However, George Halas expressed his doubts about McCaskey, sending two “agents”, Bert Bell and Art Rooney, owners of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively, to inspect McCaskey.
Chairman of the Board
In 1967, McCaskey became vice president and treasurer of the Bears, and became chairman of the board in 1983 after George Halas’ death. The following year, McCaskey gave the team’s control to his son, Michael. In 1999, McCaskey relinquished his position as chairman of the board to Michael, who was promoted after various incidents occurred, such as the botched hiring of Dave Wannstedt’s replacement and failed attempt to get a new stadium.
On April 8, 2003, McCaskey died in his Des Plaines, Illinois home; he had been in declining health, and was survived by his wife and eleven children. At his funeral, a “plaintive piano rendition” of the Bears fight song “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” was played. McCaskey left a lasting impact on the Bears, such as befriending Brian Piccolo, and placing him with Gale Sayers in the same room, making them the first interracial roommates. McCaskey wrote a speech dedicated to Piccolo that was recited by Sayers after being awarded the George S. Halas Courage Award, which was later memorialized in the film Brian’s Song, which McCaskey was a consultant for.