NFL and collegiate football coach Daniel L. Radakovich, known as “Bad Rad,” passed away at his home on February 20, 2020.
Radakovich was born on November 27, 1935 to Michael and Bridget Radakovich of Duquesne.
Radakovich grew up alongside the roller coasters and barker’s tents of Kennywood amusement park. He frequently shared tales of the famous circus acts and entertainers that stayed in his parents’ home, including the Flying Wallendas and Gene Kelly.
Stories were a hallmark of Radakovich’s existence. He was a legendary storyteller and was himself the subject of many humorous, surprising, and even outrageous anecdotes told by others!
He authored a memoir on his life in football, Bad Rad Football Nomad, that includes a number of these stories as well as an accounting of his many innovations in the sports field. Radakovich loved the game of football but also golf, basketball, history, travel, old movies, music, and most of all, his family and his friends.
Radakovich met his wife Nancy at Penn State and they began their family there as he was playing for the Nittany Lions. He started his coaching career at Penn State, first as a graduate assistant while he earned his M.B.A., then later as the first linebacker coach on the coaching staff. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and played briefly in the NFL. Coach Radakovich is known as the “patriarch of Penn State’s Linebacker U.”
From Penn State, Radakovich built a successful, winning career as a football coach at both the college level (Penn State, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado, North Carolina State, Robert Morris University, and Westminster College) and in the NFL (Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, London Monarchs and back with the Rams in St. Louis).
“Bad Rad” played an instrumental role in the formation of the famous Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the architect of the team’s offensive line Labor Gang, earned two Super Bowl rings and an NFC championship title.
He finished his coaching career launching the football program at Robert Morris University with his friend, Joe Walton, and continued to foster the work of his former players and assistants at Westminster College. Radakovich was an original, singular, eccentric, generous, loving, and brilliant man. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, daughters Lisa, Leslie, Lori, grandchildren Sarah, Katerina, Lukas, Elianna, Connor and James, and his brother Louis. His son Daniel I. Radakovich passed away last year on January 4, 2019.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his honor please be given to a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements by Copeland Funeral Home, 981 Brodhead Road, Moon Twp., PA 15108
Originally published February 26, 2020.