Former Titans General Manager Floyd Reese, the architect of one of the most successful runs in franchise history, has passed away.
Reese was 73.
According to his friends at ESPN 102.5 The Game in Nashville, where Reese worked as a radio talk show host until December 2020, Reese died “peacefully, surrounded by his family, after a battle with cancer.”
Reese, who had a 21-year run (1986-2006) with the Oilers/Titans as a coach and executive, is the winningest general manager in franchise history. His vision helped pave the way for a memorable run of success for the Titans once the team moved from Houston to Tennessee.
In Reese’s tenure with the organization, the team advanced to the playoffs 11 times. As General Manager (1994-2006), he tallied 111 wins (106 regular season/five postseason) and the Titans advanced to two AFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl (XXXIV).
Earlier this year, the team announced plans to induct Reese into the franchise’s Ring of Honor with former head coaches Jeff Fisher and O.A ‘Bum’ Phillips.
“This is a sad day for our Titans family,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “I would like to send along my deepest condolences to Floyd’s wife, Sally, to his children, grandchildren and extended family. Floyd spent over two decades with our franchise in a variety of roles, including: position coach, assistant general manager and ultimately, general manager. He excelled at all of them. As general manager, he built a team that saw sustained success and helped guide our franchise in the toughest of times and the highest moments. His keen eye for talent led him to some of the best players in our team’s history, which led the team to some of our greatest accomplishments. We look forward to remembering and honoring his legacy this season as he is formally inducted into our Ring of Honor.”
Reese, who was dealing with health problems at the time, said he was happy to get the induction news from Amy Adams Strunk.
“First of all, it was a real treat to get to talk to (Amy) again,” Reese said last month. “I think the way she explained it, this is one of the highest, if not the highest honor that we could bestow on somebody that’s not in the NFL Hall of Fame. And so that kind of makes you realize that this is special. I know it’s special too, because I think there was so much time and effort that we put in—not just me, but Jeff and everybody involved, I mean for years and years and years. To have this come true for me was a special treat.”
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson, who worked with Reese in New England, also expressed his condolences.
“I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Floyd Reese and my heartfelt condolences go out to Ms. Sally, the family, and all that were close to him,” Robinson said on Saturday. “He was a great man. He loved his family; he loved football; and he loved the Titans. I learned a lot from him. He was always willing to listen, and he wanted to pass on his knowledge of the game to me and so many others. I’m forever grateful that I could call him a friend. Thank you for everything, Floyd. I’ll see you again someday!”
As a talent evaluator, Reese collected some of the franchise’s great ones: QB Steve McNair, RB Eddie George, TE Frank Wycheck, DE Jevon Kearse, WR Derrick Mason, LB Keith Bulluck, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DL, C Kevin Mawae, P Craig Hentrich, DT Albert Haynesworth and QB Vince Young. That grouping of players would collect 27 Pro Bowl honors, three Rookies of the Year (George/Kearse/Young), and one AP Co-MVP (McNair in 2003) for the club. Reese originally joined the club in 1986 as a linebacker coach for the Oilers and following four seasons in that role, he was named Assistant General Manager (1990-93) under Mike Holovak.
Strunk had words of praise for Reese after delivering him news of the induction.
“Floyd was a great position coach for us during our run of success during the Run ‘n Shoot years and then transitioned to the front office, where he found even greater success,” Strunk said last month. “He had a great ability to find talent and take ‘chances’ to find sustained success hiring a first-time head coach in Jeff Fisher; selecting a Division I-AA quarterback, Steve McNair; in the top five of the draft; converting a first-round linebacker, Jevon Kearse, to defensive end; claiming a little used tight end, Frank Wycheck, from Washington; and trading down, then up to grab a Heisman-trophy-winning running back, Eddie George.”