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Sports

Retired Football Coach Dies

12.12.11

Joe Restic, who guided the Crimson football program to a 117-97-6 record over 23 seasons from 1971 to 1993, has died at age 85 after years of declining health. Restic's teams won five Ivy League titles and 10 games against Yale. His signature innovation at Harvard was the "multiflex" offense, which deployed complex, shifting formations, receiver routes, and blocking strategies in an effort to confuse defenses. A Villanova alumnus who played briefly at end for the Philadelphia Eagles, he was also an assistant coach at Brown and Colgate before coming to Harvard. He coached in six all-star games, including service as head coach at the East-West Shrine Game and the Blue-Gray Classic.

Restic was old-school; he was one of the last college football coaches who declined to recruit high-school athletes. His 23 years as head coach make him the longest-serving mentor in the history of Harvard football, and his 117 victories were a Crimson coaching record surpassed only this past season by his successor, Tim Murphy, who elevated his career mark to 120-59 after beating Yale to conclude Harvard's 2011 Ivy League championship campaign.

Read the December 13 Boston Globe obituary by John Powers '70 here.

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players from two opposing teams line up at line of scrimmage.

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Photograph courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

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