Rex Ryan Father: All About Buddy Ryan!

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The former American football analyst and coach Rex Ryan is the son of the late football coach Buddy Ryan who served as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers and Chicago Bears of the NFL.

Buddy also served as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.

He had a long and illustrious coaching career spanning 35 seasons starting in 1961.

Continuing his father’s legacy, Buddy’s son Rex Ryan formerly head coached the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets of the NFL.

After quitting coaching, Rex pursued a broadcasting career and has been associated with many well-known networks, including ESPN and Fox, ever since.

Rex Ryan's Father Buddy Ryan
Rex Ryan’s Father, Buddy Ryan (Source:

In 2022, Rex competed in the CBS reality competition show The Amazing Race, where he was eliminated in 11th place.

Besides Rex, Buddy’s other son, a twin of Rex, Rob Ryan pursued a coaching career too.

Rob currently is the senior defensive assistant for the Las Vegas Raiders of the NFL.

For more detailed information about Budd, Rex and Ryan, please read the whole article, and also do not forget to check out the facts table below.

Rex Ryan Father | Quick facts

Birth Name James David “Buddy” Ryan
Known As Buddy Ryan
Nickname Buddy
Date of Birth February 17, 1931
Date of Death June 28, 2016
Birthplace Frederick, Oklahoma, United States
Place of Death Shelbyville, Kentucky, United States
Religion Catholic
Sexual Orientation Straight
Father Name Not Known
Mother Name  Not Known
Gender Male
Age of Death 85
Profession Former Professional NFL Coach
Famous For  NFL Coach, Father of NFL Coach Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan
Nationality American
Education Oklahoma A&M University
Height Not Available
Weight Not Available
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Salt and Pepper
Marital Status Married
Wife Doris Ryan (11 Years), Joanie Ryan (m. 1970)
Children Rob Ryan, Jim Ryan
Siblings George Weasley Ryan, Mary Ellen Ryan Tivis, Lahoma Bandy
Zodiac Sign  Aquarians 
Coached For Buffalo Bulls Football (Defensive Line Coach), Pacific Tigers Football (Defensive Line Coach), Vanderbilt Commodores (Defensive Line Coach), New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Oilers, Arizona Cardinals
Position Defensive Line
Career Highlights 2 X Super Bowl (III, XX)
Net Worth $5 Million
Social Media Not Available
Merch  Signed NFL Photo
Last Update April 2024

Rex Ryan Father | Early Life, Education & Death

Early Life & Education

Buddy Ryan, who practically spent half his life coaching different NFL teams, was born on February 17, 1931.

His birth year was often listed as 1934, but it turns out he had subtracted a few years from his actual age to come off young when he was looking for an NFL job initially. It was revealed in his son Rex Ryan’s memoir.

Buddy was raised outside of Frederick, Oklahoma, United States, in a small agricultural-based community.

There is not much information about Buddy’s family and early life, but it is known that he attended Oklahoma A&M University.

Not only that, but Buddy played college football for the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater (originally Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College).

In fact, between 1952 and 1955, Buddy earned four letters as a guard.


Buddy Ryan died after a lengthy illness on his ranch in Shelbyville, Kentucky, United States, on June 28, 2016. He was 85 at the time. Reportedly, he had battled cancer and suffered a major stroke.

Buddy Ryan's Funeral
Buddy Ryan’s Funeral (Source: Chicago Sun-Times)

He was interred on his farm at Lawrenceburg Cemetery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

Rex Ryan Father | Career

The Super Bowl-winning coach, Buddy Ryan, served in the United States Army during the Korean War as a sergeant during the 50s.

He then went on to pursue a coaching career, which he started off by coaching a high school football team.

His first stint was with the Gainesville High School in Texas in 1957.

After that, he began coaching college football teams, including the Buffalo Bulls football team and Vanderbilt Commodores football, among others.

And in 1968, Buddy joined the New York Jets of the NFL.

He was a defensive line coach for the Jets for the team’s Super Bowl III victory.

He then coached the Minnesota Vikings from 1976 to 1977.

Buddy Ryan In Action
Buddy Ryan In Action (Source: Sports Illustrated)

After a year with the Vikings, he transferred to the Chicago Bears. While with the Vikings, Buddy began working on a defensive nickel scheme which formed the early basis of the 46 defense.

Buddy stayed with the Bears until 1985 and was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as a head coach in the offseason of the same year.

The Eagles fired Buddy in 1991, after which he became CNN’s NFL commentator.

In 1993, Buddy joined Houston Oilers as the defensive coordinator. And after a successful tenure with the Oilers, Buddy was named general manager and head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.

So, in a nutshell, Buddy had an astonishingly successful coaching career and built a reputation defensive specialist.

He was credited with perfecting the 46 defense.

A Short Bio On Rex Ryan

The second child of Buddy Ryan and the twin brother of Rob Ryan, Rex Ryan is a former football coach and analyst.

Rex aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a football coach from a young age.

He spent most of his youth in Canada and attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University when he returned to the States.

Unsurprisingly he also played football in college in the defensive end position.

After graduating from college in 1986, Rex spent the next 22 years coaching different teams both at the college and professional levels.

He initially secured a job as a graduate assistant on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels football team with the help of his father.

Rex got his NFL break when his father, Buddy, was hired as the head coach of the Cardinals in 1994. His first NFL job was as a defensive assistant.

Rex Ryan For The Jets
Rex Ryan For The Jets (Source: NPR)

He then went to work with several NFL teams as an assistant coach, including Baltimore Ravens.

And after spending nine successful years with the Ravens, Rex accepted the head coaching position with the New York Jets.

He was dismissed by the Jets in December 2014 despite players expressing their desire for Ryan to remain the coach.

Rex had a super successful time with the Jets, which led him to be hired as the head coach of another NFL team Buffalo Bills.

He signed a five-year deal with the Bills on January 12, 2015, and was the 18th head coach for the team.

Rex Ryan Father | Wife & Children

Buddy was married to his first wife, Doris Ryan, for 11 years before separating. They had three sons Rex, Rob, and Jim.

They split eight months after Rob and Rex were born.

Buddy then married his second wife, Joanie Ryan. They met in 1968 when the two lived in the same building in Queens.

Ryan was an assistant coach with the Jets at the time.

The couple got married in 1970. Joanie died in 2013 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Rex Ryan Brother | Net Worth

While there is no exact figure on Buddy’s net worth, based on multiple sources, it is safe to say that he had at least $5 million net worth at the time of his death.

The man spent nearly 35 years coaching different teams in the NFL, and his fortune seems justifiable.

As for his son Rex, his net worth sits at around $20 million.

He reportedly earns around $4 million in annual salary from his broadcasting stints.

Rex made most of his money from his coaching career, though.

On January 12, 2015, he agreed on five years $27.5 million deal with the Bills.

Moreover, Buddy’s other son Rob has a net worth of $16 million as of April 2024.

Unknown Facts

  • In 1964, the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Lou Saban, offered Buddy a job with the Bills, but Buddy received a $2,000 hike in his salary from the University of Buffalo to stay.
  • While at Gainesville, Buddy was promoted to head coach from the athletic director when Wooten became head coach at Marshall High School in 1959.
  • Buddy was involved in an altercation with Kevin Gilbride, the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets, during the nationally telecast game on January 2, 1994.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Where is Rex Ryan coaching now?

Buddy’s son Rex Ryan is not coaching now. He serves as ESPN’s NFL analyst.

How many Super Bowl rings does Buddy Ryan have?

Buddy Ryan won two Super Bowl championship rings as an assistant coach.

Is Buddy Ryan in the Hall of Fame?

Buddy is not a Pro Football Hall of Famer. But if we are talking about one of the greats in American football history, the list would not be complete without Buddy, which I think is something more than Hall of Fame induction.

Pranaya Poudel
Pranaya Poudel
Stargazer, & Rock n' Roller I Pranaya Poudel, am a content writer and editor for Coffee lover and kind of a loner. Favorite Teams: Milwaukee Bucks (NBA), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) Favorite Players: Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden & Patrick Mahomes FYI I believe in Alien!!!

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