John Ray dies at age 81

John Ray, the architect of one of college football's most dominant defenses, died Wednesday at the age of 81.

Ray joined Ara Parseghian's staff at Notre Dame in 1964 and set in motion a defensive philosophy that would result in the 1966 National Championship. Ray used a 4-4-3 alignment that allowed players like Jim Lynch, Alan Page, Kevin Hardy and Tom Schoen to choke off both the pass and run.

In 1966, Ray's defense allowed only 3.8 points per game. After the 1968 season, Ray became the head coach at Kentucky. He also was the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Special Olympics. Ray's first wife, Bobbie, preceded him in death. He's survived by his widow Nora and children Jeff, Kathy, Debbie and Chris.


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