Former Green Bay Packers, St. Norbert College coach John Meyer dead at 78
GREEN BAY – John Meyer, Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator under Bart Starr, died Nov. 4. He was 78 years old.
Meyer joined Starr's coaching staff in 1975 as linebackers coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1980. Meyer contributed to two of the better seasons during Starr's tenure, producing top 10 defenses in 1981, when the Packers were 8-8, and 1982, when they were 5-3-1 and won a playoff game.
He passed up a potential college head coaching job before the 1983 season to stay in Green Bay, where, according to Packers historian Cliff Christl, the defensive line was decimated by contract and injury problems. The Packers offense caught fire, finishing in the league's top 10, but the defense dropped to 28th.
The Packers finished 8-8, and Starr and his coaches were fired.
His players liked and respected him. "John got guys to play," said Packers safety Mark S. Murphy.
"To me he has that rare quality of being a firm disciplinarian and you still like the hell out of him," said tackle Greg Koch in Packers historian Christl's piece on Meyer.
Bill Curry, who played for the Packers and also was on Starr's staff, said Meyer was one of the best friends he ever had. "He was … a great football coach. I will miss him terribly," Curry tweeted.
A native of Chicago, Meyer attended Notre Dame University, and then played for the Houston Oilers in 1966 before suffering a career-ending injury. He was a linebackers coach for the Patriots, and at 25 one of the youngest assistant coaches in the league. He coached linebackers for the Lions before joining Starr's staff.
After leaving the Packers, Meyer remained in Green Bay, but also worked with the football programs at St. Norbert College in De Pere and St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa.
He is a member of the Brother Rice High School Athletic Hall Of Fame and the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame.
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