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New England Patriots

Former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks dead at 79

Chuck Fairbanks, who coached Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens at Oklahoma and spent six seasons as coach of the New England Patriots, has died after battling brain cancer. He was 79.

Oklahoma said in a news release that Fairbanks died yesterday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Fairbanks was 52-15-1 in six years with the Sooners, including an Orange Bowl victory his first season and consecutive Sugar Bowls wins in 1971-72 before taking over the Patriots. He won 46 games for New England, a franchise record at the time.

Former Big Eight rival Colorado hired Fairbanks after a legal battle with the Patriots. He also was coach and general manager of the New Jersey Generals in the USFL.

Owens said Fairbanks “was a special coach, he was a special friend.”

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