ST. LOUIS – Jim Hanifan, who spent most of his life in and around the game of football and became a St. Louis beloved staple as a coach and radio commentator, died Tuesday night at the age of 87.
A cause of death has not been determined. However, Hanifan’s daughter told our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his death was not COVID-related.
Hanifan led the St. Louis Cardinals from 1980 to 1985, amassing a 39-49-1 record as head coach.
The Cardinals made the NFL playoffs in the strike-shortened 1982 season. It would be the team’s only postseason appearance during Hanifan’s tenure. He has the fourth most wins as a head coach in franchise history.
Hanifan played football at the University of California. He led the nation in receiving in 1954 and was named an All-American.
He played one season with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. With his playing days behind him, Hanifan worked as an assistant coach in the college ranks before joining the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 as the offensive line coach. He was named “Assistant Coach of the Year” in 1977.
Hanifan spent one year with the San Diego Chargers before returning to St. Louis in 1980 to take the helm for the Cardinals.
He bounced around the league as an assistant coach—and served as interim head coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 1989—and spent the final seven years of his career as the O-Line coach for the St. Louis Rams.
Hanifan retired following the 2003 season and joined the Rams radio broadcast team in 2004. He called the games until 2008.