Vince Tobin, who guided the Arizona Cardinals to their first NFL playoff victory in more than 50 years during the 1998 season, died Monday, the team announced. He was 79.
No cause of death was provided, ESPN reported.
Tobin, who coached the Cardinals from 1996 to 2000, led the franchise to its first postseason victory in 1998 after Arizona had a 9-7 regular season. Arizona upset the Dallas Cowboys 20-7 on the road to earn its first playoff win since 1947, when the franchise was in Chicago, The Arizona Republic reported.
lt was the longest playoff drought in NFL history, according to NFL.com.
The Cardinals lost to the Minnesota Vikings 41-21 in the divisional round to end their 1998 season.
“Our deepest condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Vince Tobin, and in particular his wife Kathy and their family,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “As head coach of the Cardinals, his steady leadership was a constant and a big part of the success the team enjoyed during his tenure.
“His football legacy with us is highlighted by the thrilling 1998 season, return to the postseason, and upset playoff win at Dallas. He will also be remembered for his instrumental role in key decisions like drafting Jake Plummer and Pat Tillman. More than that, he was a consummate family man and always a class act who positively impacted everyone he encountered.”
Plummer paid tribute to Tobin on Twitter, tweeting that he was “grateful for the confidence he instilled in me.”
Tobin succeeded Buddy Ryan as the Cardinals’ coach in 1996 and had a 23-48 record during his five seasons in Arizona, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
He was the defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears from 1986 to 1992, ESPN reported. He was also a defensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League (BC Lions, 1977-82) and the USFL (Philadelphia Stars, 1983-85) and held the same position with the Indianapolis Colts in 1994 and 1995, according to the Republic.
Born Sept. 29, 1943, in Burlington Junction, Missouri, Tobin was a defensive back at the University of Missouri and became a graduate coaching assistant at the school in 1965, the Republic reported. He served as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator from 1971 to 1976, according to the newspaper.