FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of former Patriots head coach Rod Rust, who passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 90.
A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rust was born Aug. 2, 1928, and played college football at Iowa State from 1947-49. He spent two years with the U.S. Army before he began coaching. Following military duty, Rust coached at the high school level in Iowa for several years before moving on to the collegiate level for 13 years with assistant stints at New Mexico and Stanford before becoming a head coach at North Texas State.
Rust then moved to the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes for three seasons as defensive coordinator on head coach Marv Levy's staff. In 1974, the Alouettes captured the CFL's Grey Cup title. Rust moved on to coach the Philadelphia Eagles linebackers from 1976-77 before being hired by the Kansas City Chiefs to be their defensive coordinator from 1978-82. He then served in the same position with the New England Patriots for five seasons from 1983-87. His 1985 defensive unit, which ranked third in the AFC, helped the Patriots win the AFC Championship and advance to Super Bowl XX.
After five seasons as New England's defensive coordinator, Rust returned to the Chiefs as defensive coordinator for the 1988 season, followed by a season as the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named head coach of the New England Patriots on Feb. 27, 1990 and led the team for one season. He finished his coaching career as an assistant with the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. His final season in coaching came in 2005 with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers when he was 77.