Former Eagles executive Harry Gamble dies at 83

University of Pennsylvania football coach Harry Gamble holds his trophy presented by the Football Writers Association of New York in New York. Gamble, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles as well as Lafayette, Penn and New Jersey high school teams before retiring as the Eagles' president, died Tuesday, the Eagles said in a statement. He was 83. 

AP photo by John J. Lent, Feb. 5, 1973

The Philadelphia Eagles and the South Jersey high school football community lost an icon on Tuesday.

Harry Gamble, who was an Eagles' executive and former high school football coach, died at the age of 83.

"Harry is a legendary football figure in the city of Philadelphia and South Jersey," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. "He was an excellent football coach, executive and philanthropist, but he will be remembered most for his warm personality, his strong character and his love for his family. He will be sorely missed."

Gamble was born and raised in Pitman, Gloucester County, and coached at both Clayton and Audubon high schools from 1954-61. He then served as head coach at Lafayette (1967-70) and the University of Pennsylvania (1971-80) before joining the Eagles as a volunteer assistant coach under Dick Vermeil in 1981.

Gamble worked his way up the ranks in the Eagles' organization. He coached the Eagles' special teams and tight ends in 1982, became a coaching/personnel assistant in 1983, then was named director of football operations in 1984 and was general manager under Leonard Tose in 1985. That same year, he was inducted into both the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame and South Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

Gamble became team president of the Eagles in 1986 and held that position through owner Norman Braman's tenure.

In 1984, he was named director of football operations and in 1985 he served as general manager. In 1986, he was named team president, overseeing all business and personnel operations for Braman. He left the team in 1994 after Lurie bought the team and rearranged the front office.

Gamble is survived by his wife, Joan, and sons Harry Jr. and Tom, and three grandchildren. Tom Gamble is currently the Eagles' vice president of player personnel. He left a similar job with San Francisco last year in order to be closer to his father.

Funeral arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 205, Collingswood, N.J. 08108.

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