Paul Louis Roach (October 24, 1927 – September 3, 2023) was an eminent figure in American football, excelling as a player, coach, and college athletics administrator. Hailing from Spring Green, Wisconsin, Roach made significant contributions to the sport and left a lasting impact.
Early Life and Education
Paul Louis Roach was born on October 24, 1927, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He attended Central High School in Rapid City, South Dakota, and later served in the United States Army during World War II from 1945 to 1947. Following his service, Roach pursued higher education at Black Hills Teacher’s College (now known as Black Hills State University) from 1948 to 1951. During his time there, he excelled in various sports, earning all-conference honors in football twice. In 1952, he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical education, marking the beginning of his illustrious journey.
Roach embarked on his coaching career, starting as the head football coach and track coach at Hettinger High School in North Dakota from 1952 to 1953. He continued to make strides in coaching, serving in high schools and ultimately transitioning to college coaching. Notably, he played a significant role as an assistant coach with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux and later as an offensive backfield coach for the Wyoming Cowboys. He also made significant contributions as an offensive coordinator for teams like the Wisconsin Badgers, Oakland Raiders, and Green Bay Packers in the NFL. Roach’s strategic prowess and keen football acumen earned him a reputation as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL.
Coaching and Administrative Achievements
Roach held the position of athletic director at the University of Wyoming from 1986 to 1996, making a substantial impact on the institution’s athletic programs. In 1987, he was appointed as the head football coach for the Wyoming Cowboys. During his tenure, he steered the team to remarkable success, clinching two consecutive conference championships and two bowl game appearances. Roach’s exceptional coaching skills earned him accolades, including being named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and being a finalist for the National Coach of the Year award.
Legacy and Passing
Paul Louis Roach’s legacy in American football is enduring, marked by his remarkable contributions as a player, coach, and athletic administrator. He was inducted into several prestigious halls of fame, including the Black Hills State Athletics Hall of Fame and the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame. Roach passed away on September 3, 2023, at the age of 95, leaving a lasting imprint on the world of football.