Maxie Baughan, 9-time Pro Bowl linebacker, Colts defensive coordinator and Ravens assistant coach, dies

Maxie Baughan poses with football cards from his career at his home in Reisterstown in October 2010. DAVE MUNCH/BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA

Maxie Baughan, a Colts defensive coordinator and Ravens linebackers coach who was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL, died of complications from dementia Saturday at his home in Ithaca, New York. The former Finksburg and Reisterstown resident was 85.

A native of Forkland, Alabama, Maxie Calloway Baughan Jr. played for coach Bobby Dodd at Georgia Institute of Technology as a linebacker and center and was Most Valuable Player of the 1960 Gator Bowl. A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960 he started at linebacker as a rookie for the Eagles’ 1960 NFL championship team, earning his first Pro Bowl selection.


Mr. Baughan also played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1966 to 1970. He was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech from 1972 to 1973 before he spent one year as a player-coach with Washington’s NFL team in 1974.

When Ted Marchibroda was hired off Washington’s staff to become the Colts’ head coach in 1975, Mr. Baughan followed him to Baltimore and the Colts won three consecutive division titles, though they never won a playoff game.


He stayed with the team through 1979, then was defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions for three seasons before taking over as head coach at Cornell University in 1983. The Big Red were below .500 his first three seasons there, then went 20-9-1 over his next three seasons, including an Ivy League championship in 1988. Tired of recruiting, he headed back to the NFL.

He was a linebackers coach with the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before returning to Baltimore in that capacity when the Ravens hired Mr. Marchibroda as head coach before the 1996 season, their first after moving from Cleveland.

Ravens linebackers coach, Maxie Baughan calls a fourth-quarter timeout Dec. 22, 1996, in a 24-21 loss to the Houston Oilers. At right is coach Ted Marchibroda.

The Ravens had the fourth and 26th overall selections in that year’s draft. They settled on tackle Jonathan Ogden with the fourth pick. There was much disagreement about what to do with No. 26.

Mr. Baughan recalled getting worked up when making an impassioned case to take linebacker Ray Lewis, even though he was undersized for the position.

“I worked him out. I thought he was awesome. There wasn’t any question in my mind he was the best football player out there,” Mr. Baughan told the Carroll County Times in 2010. “He weighed 237 pounds. That was plenty big. All he did was make all the tackles, all over the field.

“On draft day, they were thinking about somebody else. I said, ‘Hey, look, here’s the best player on the board. We’ve got to get him.’ [Team owner] Art Modell, [general manager] Ozzie Newsome, Ted, they finally agreed with me.”

Mr. Lewis went on to a Hall of Fame career and credited Mr. Baughan for bringing him in and helping develop him during his first three NFL seasons.

“He went out on a limb for me when everybody was talking about size and this and that,” Mr. Lewis told the Times. “Maxie was a great part of my life.”


“Three of his students — Peter Boulware, Ray Lewis and Jamie Sharper — brought aptitude and ability with them while learning from a master teacher at the position,” Sun sports columnist John Steadman wrote in 1999.

“Maxie was a great mentor for a young linebacker core early in my career,” Mr. Sharper said. “Having all rookies, and second-year Ray [Lewis], to start my career felt like college again because we were so young. Maxie made sure we understood it was a profession and had us learning to be professional football players and not just football guys.”

Regarding Johnny Unitas, who he said was the best of the quarterbacks of his era, Mr. Baughan told Mr. Steadman, “In fact, he’s the toughest individual, mentally, I ever saw on a football field. A true leader, respected by all.”

The one thing in 1990s football that irked Mr. Baughan is how “players demonstrate after making routine plays.”

“The league is going to have to do something about showboating. There’s no reason for it,” he told Mr. Steadman. “This is football, not wrestling.”

Ray Lewis, second from left, and coach John Harbaugh, in front at right, chat with former Colts players and coaches, including from left, Jim Cheyunski, Maxie Baughan and Doug Eggers, facing camera in blue shirt in 2010.

This could be the year Mr. Baughan joins Mr. Lewis in the Hall: He was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Class of 2024 in the seniors category last month.


Mr. Baughan, a member of the college football, Alabama state and Georgia Tech halls of fame, told the Carroll County Times in 2010 that he had no idea why he wasn’t in Canton.

“I’m in all of [the halls] except that one,” Mr. Baughan said. “What the criterion is, I don’t know. I had nine Pro Bowls. A lot of guys are in with four or five. I called the signals on defense. Captain of the team on every team I played on.

“I don’t have a vote, so I’m not going to worry about it.”

The Ravens didn’t bring Mr. Marchibroda or Mr. Baughan back for the 1999 season, but the latter remained a Finksburg and Reisterstown resident for many years, playing in charity golf tournaments and working summer football camps.

Maxie Baughan watches Ravens training camp in August 2010 in Westminster.

Mr. Baughan was inducted into Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015.

The Morning Sun


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“Maxie is one of the most legendary figures in our program’s history and a shining example of what a Tech man is,” Georgia Tech coach Brent Key said in a statement. “We are heartbroken by his passing.”


Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said Mr. Baughan was known for “playing a tough, hard-nosed style of football. Maxie’s induction into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015 solidified his legacy and recognized his contributions to the team.”

National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning said in a news release Sunday: “Maxie Baughan was a fierce and highly intelligent competitor, establishing himself as the best center in the nation in 1959. His passion for the game continued throughout his lifetime, and he mentored countless great players over the years, coaching both in college and the NFL.”

Before moving to Ithaca in 2018, Mr. Baughan was an active member of North Carroll Cooperative Parish Emory United Methodist Church where he and two others cared for the church cemetery and where his ashes will be interred in a private ceremony.

At his request, no services will be held. Plans for a barbecue that will be held in the church hall, 1600 Emory Road, Upperco, are incomplete.

Mr. Baughan is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Dianne Edge, a homemaker; three sons, Maxie C. Baughan III of Branford, Connecticut, Mark Baughan of Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Matt Baughan of Ithaca, New York; and eight grandchildren.

The Associated Press and Baltimore Sun Media archives contributed to this article.

Maxie Baughan holds a football inside Franklin Field in Philadelphia after a news conference for the 50th anniversary of the Eagles' 1960 NFL championship team.