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Tom Nugent, 92; Innovative College Football Coach Took Florida State to 2 Bowl Games

January 21, 2006|From Associated Press

Tom Nugent, a longtime college football coach who was credited with developing the I formation at Virginia Military Institute and later coached at Florida State University and the University of Maryland, died Thursday. He was 92.

Nugent died of congestive heart failure at a nursing home in Tallahassee, Fla., his family said.

Nugent also was credited with creating the "typewriter" huddle, in which players stood in two rows rather than a circle while plays were being called. He was a head coach for 17 years, posting an 89-80-3 record before turning to broadcasting and public relations.

He was 19-18-2 at VMI from 1949 to 1952. During his six years at Florida State in the mid-1950s, he coached future ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso and actor Burt Reynolds, and also served as the school's athletic director.

"He put FSU on the map in the early years," Reynolds said Thursday. "He was an innovator who brought a whole new style of football with the I formation. I love him and I'll miss him."

Nugent led Florida State to a 34-28-1 record and two bowl games during his stay from 1953 to 1958, and coached the school's first game against the University of Florida.

Nugent took the Seminoles to their first New Year's Day game in 1955, when they were defeated by Texas Western, 47-20, at the Sun Bowl.

Nugent coached Maryland from 1959 to 1965, posting a 36-34 record.

A native of Lawrence, Mass., Nugent was a captain in the Army Air Forces during World War II.

He began his coaching career at the high school level in Virginia before accepting his first college job, at VMI, in 1949.

Nugent was inducted into the halls of fame at Florida State and New York state's Ithaca College, where he won 10 letters in baseball, basketball, football and track.

He is survived by five sons, four daughters, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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