Former Buccaneers tight end passes away at age 59

Calvin Magee, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: RVR Photots-USA TODAY Sports
Calvin Magee, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: RVR Photots-USA TODAY Sports /

We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Calvin Magee from a heart attack at the criminally young age of 59.

Magee was a standout tight end at the HBCU Southern University from 1981 to 1984 before the Buccaneers signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1985. Magee would play four seasons with the Bucs up until 1988, starting in 34 of the 56 games he appeared in. Magee would catch 114 balls for 1,379 yards and eleven touchdowns in that time, with his best season coming in 1986 when he had 45 receptions for 564 yards and five touchdowns. These numbers might not jump off the screen now, but those were solid for the mid-1980s.

It’s all the more impressive when you consider that this was the period where the Bucs were knee-deep in their era of the “Yucks” or the “Suckaneers” as they posted a record of 13-50 during Magee’s career there, but he still found a way to produce.

That determination is what made him into a solid coach, as upon retirement he would go on to become a mainstay with Rich Rodriguez’s various coaching staffs, starting at West Virginia University in 2001 as a running backs coach. He would eventually become the offensive coordinator in 2005 and would follow Rodriguez to the University of Michigan in 2008 where he held the same titles until the staff was let go in 2010.

Magee would bounce around to various schools before linking up once again with Rodriguez at the University of Arizona from 2012 to 2017, and again in 2022, this time at HBCU Jacksonville State, where he was to serve as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, and tight ends coach. Tragically, he passed away before being able to coach a game with the Gamecocks.

The Buccaneers in a statement said that “Calvin Magee was part of the Tampa Bay community for many years first as a Buccaneers player, and then as a high school and college coach. We send out condolences to his family, friends, and the countless players he impacted in his more than three decades coaching the game.

Bringing things full circle for those wondering, the late player and coach Magee (number 86) can be seen in the photo of this article blocking for running back William Howard (number 43). The player he’s blocking? Future NFL head coach Ron Rivera (number 59).

We at the Pewter Plank offer our condolences to the friends and family of Calvin Magee, gone far too soon.