Former New Orleans Breakers coach Dick Coury dead at age 91
One of the very nice people in the coaching business has passed away.
Dick Coury died Saturday at the age of 91.
Coury enjoyed a long and prosperous career in coaching.
His travels led him to New Orleans as head coach of the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL in 1984, the lone season the team played here, playing in the Superdome.
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The Breakers started the season with a bang.
New Orleans won its first five games and after 12 games, the Breakers were positioned well to make the playoffs at 8-4 but fell apart and lost their final six games to finish 8-10. The team was led by future New Orleans Saints running back Buford Jordan, who outperformed highly touted Marcus Dupree by rushing for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns.
Wide receiver Frank Lockett caught 56 passes for 1,199 yards and eight touchdowns and tight end Dan Ross caught 65 passes for 833 yards and two scores. Quarterback Johnnie Walton started fast but slowed down like the team. He completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 3,554 yards with 17 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Defensively, Junior Ah You had nine sacks while Bruce Miller had five interceptions.
The USFL was planning to move to the fall to compete with the NFL and that concept doomed the Breakers in New Orleans, which of course, already had the New Orleans Saints.
Coury was the head coach of the Breakers in Boston in 1983 before they moved to the Crescent City in 1984 and remained head coach of the franchise in 1985, after it moved to Portland.
Coury coached the Breakers to an 11-7 record in Boston in 1983 and a 6-12 record in Portland in 1985. He was the USFL Coach of the Year in 1983 in Boston.
Coury also served as head coach of the Portland Storm of the World Football League in 1974, posting a 7-12-1 record.
Coury began his coaching career at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, serving from 1957-65.
He also served as the head coach on the college level at Cal State Fullerton (1970-71), posting a 13-8-1 record.
He got his first college job at USC and served as the defensive coordinator for the Trojans from 1966-68. He was part of a national championship team under John McKay which featured Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson.
Coury got his first NFL assistant position with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969. He also served as an assistant with Denver (1972-73), San Diego (1975), Philadelphia (1976-81), the Los Angeles Rams (1986-90), New England (1991-92), Minnesota (1993), Houston (1994-96) and finished his coaching career with the St. Louis Rams (1997-98).
Coury was the wide receivers coach for Dick Vermeil with the Eagles when they reached Super Bowl XV on January 25, 1981 when the Oakland Raiders defeated Philadelphia 27-10 in the Superdome in a game which I covered.
Vermeil spoke with Philadelphiaeagles.com and praised Coury.
“Once you work with Dick Coury, you never forget him,” Vermeil said. “He had a natural compassion for kids. I don’t think I’ve ever been with a coach that could coach so well without almost never raising his voice. He was just so even-tempered.”
I had the good fortune to serve as the sideline reporter for Breakers telecasts in 1984, worked on his television coach’s show and got to know Coury well. He was always friendly, accessible and was highly respected in the industry of coaching and by all in the media.
Coury’s son, Steve Coury, is the head coach at Lake Oswego (Oregon) High School.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…